Kenenisa Bekele Holds Off Mo Farah In One Of The Most Thrilling Road Races In History – 2013 BUPA Great North Run

Bekele Pulls Off Incredibly Heist By Faking Getting Dropped in First 10km; Haile Gebrselassie Runs Fastest Half-Marathon By 40 Year Old

*Women’s Race Recap: LRC Priscah Jeptoo Uses Mid-Race 4:34 Mile And 30:03 10k To Show She’s Queen Of The Roads And Defeats Defar And Dibaba

September 15, 2013

Rarely do races live up to the hype but the men’s race at the 2013 Bupa Great North Run lived up to it and exceeded it.

The men’s race featured three of the greatest men’s distance runners in history. 40-year old former world record holder Haile Gebrselassie, the six-time Olympic/World champion on the track (outdoors), 31-year-old Kenenisa Bekele, the current 5000 and 10,000 world record holder and an eight-time World/Olympic champion on the track (outdoors), and 30-year old Mo Farah, the current king of distance running as he’s the man who has won the last five Olympic/World champion distance races on the track (outdoors).

In the end, Kenenisa Bekele earned a stunning victory over Farah, made more stunning by the fact that early in the race, before 10k, Bekele fell 20 meters behind Gebrselassie and Farah.

Kenenisa Bekele and Mo Farah battling with less than 10 seconds remaining Kenenisa Bekele and Mo Farah battling with less than 10 seconds remaining

Bekele soon caught back up and the three legends would run side by side with the elder statesman Gebrselassie doing most of the work until just before the 12 mile mark when Bekele slammed the pace down on the quick downhill and then subsequent uphill that takes place right at 12 mile mark. Gebrselassie’s chances for victory ended immediately and soon Farah hiimself was dropped. But Farah hung in there and with 400 remaining, Farah, who had closed a 5000 this year in 50.89, was just three seconds back of Bekele, a man who had struggled all summer over the final 400.

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Farah dug deep and went to his ferocious kick. And Bekele, who had been looking over his shoulder repeatedly, desperately tried to hang on. Farah ended up pulling up just behind Bekele in the final 100 but just when it looked like Farah was going to grab the lead, Bekele pulled away to win in 60:09 to Farah’s 60:10.

Gebrselassie ended up third in the fastest time ever by a master of 60:41.

Bekele Pulls Off A Great Heist By Purposely Getting Dropped!!

After the race, Bekele revealed that he’d pulled off one of the greatest heists in road racing history. Early in the race, when Bekele (who hadn’t even been named to Ethiopia’s World Championship team in track this year as he’d struggled in his European races) fell off the leading duo, he wasn’t really struggling. He was faking it so Gebrselassie and Farah would sense weakness and increase the pace.

Kenenisa Bekele fell behind before 10k (by design) and got the win Kenenisa Bekele fell behind before 10k (by design) and got the win

After the race, when asked about dropping off early in the race, Bekele said, “Actually, I didn’t tire at that time. I wanted the pace a little bit increased but if we are sticking together maybe the pace is slow because we are waiting for each other. I wanted the pace a little bit pushed so that’s why I (fell back),” said Bekele to Colin Jackson of the BBC interview of all three legends at once after the race.

When Farah heard this, he interrupted and quipped, “It certainly worked.”

Bekele was obviously thrilled to have won and in many ways revived his career as a true elite.

“(After not getting named for Moscow), I was concentrating to train heard. I was feeling confident. My injury was better and better. I trained well, and in the end, I did it,” said Bekele.

Farah Reacts

“It was a great race. It was a great finish. I thought when Kenenisa went with a mile to go. I thought the pace was just ridiculous and I thought I can come back and close the gap slowly. I managed to close it a little bit but you can’t take away what he has. He has the great speed and it came down to the last 200 meters – right for the line – but it was a great race,” said Farah.

“My main preparation was the world championships and that was my main focus. I only had two to three weeks to prepare for this race but at the same time, I am definitely disappointed to have finished second, but I didn’t just finish second. I finished second to a great athlete,” added Mo.

Farah gave Haile credit for keeping the pace honest as he “kept nudging and kept pushing” things throughout.

“It’s the only chance I had today was to push from the beginning, but it was wonderful. It was a nice show and I’m so thankful to the organizers, “said Gebselassie. “At least I get to go back with something – a world record over 40.”

Quick Take #1: What a race. What a brilliant strategy by Bekele as well.

Quick Take #2: We timed Bekele’s last 400 in 60.3 (HT). He went 30.88, 29.35 according to our watch. We timed Farah’s last 400 in 58.2 (29.22, 28.94). Crazy fast.

We don’t know if the 400 and 200 signs were 100% accurate but boy is that impressive.

Quick Take #3: The post-race interview of the three legends is worth a watch. We included most of the key quotes above but it was great to see the three legends together and you can watch the video here.

When they were asked what’s next. Bekele said he’d like to move up to the marathon, but the 40-year old Gebrselassie got a laugh from everyone when he said, “I’m definitely not (doing a marathon).

Quick Take #4: Video of the final mile and top 10 results and then photos appear below.


1 M 3 KENENISA BEKELE 01:00:09 Gun Time
2 M 1 MO FARAH Newham & Essex Beagles AC 01:00:10 Gun Time
3 M 2 HAILE GEBRSELASSIE 01:00:41 Gun Time
4 M 8 ARATA FUJIWARA 01:02:44 Gun Time
5 M 11 TOMOHIRO TANIGAWA 01:02:48 Gun Time
6 M 12 RYUJI WATANABE 01:02:58 Gun Time
7 M 26 MARK KENNEALLY Clonliffe Harriers 01:04:06 Gun Time
8 M 6 YUKI KAWAUCHI 01:04:08 Gun Time
9 M 17 YARED HAGOS Wallsend Harriers & AC 01:04:14 Gun Time
10 M 5 COLLIS BIRMINGHAM 01:04:28 Gun Time

Photos: Click on thumbnail for larger version.

Bekele fell behind early (on purpose we found out) Bekele fell behind early (on purpose we found out)
The three legends The three legends
Haile pushing Haile pushing
Haile pushing Haile pushing
Haile still leading until almost mile12 Haile still leading until almost mile12
Bekele makes his move on downhill and then uphill leading to 12th mile mark Bekele makes his move on downhill and then uphill leading to 12th mile mark
Bekele pulling away Bekele pulling away

bekele goes for the win

Just over 35 seconds left Just over 35 seconds left
Farah comes back Farah comes back
Just over 20 seconds left Just over 20 seconds left
Less than 10 seconds and Farah is right there Less than 10 seconds and Farah is right there
Bekele wins Bekele wins




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