Best of British
NEWHAM & ESSEX Beagles athlete Mo Farah became the first Briton in 13 years to win the Bupa Great South Run on Sunday, writes BEN WELCH. The European indoor 3,000 metres champion clinched victory after a thrilling sprint finish with South Africa s Stephen
NEWHAM & ESSEX Beagles athlete Mo Farah became the first Briton in 13 years to win the Bupa Great South Run on Sunday, writes BEN WELCH.
The European indoor 3,000 metres champion clinched victory after a thrilling sprint finish with South Africa's Stephen Mokoka in Portsmouth.
The 26-year-old looked to have choked under the pressure of winning his first competitive road race over 10 miles, when he allowed Mokoka and Kenyan Luke Kibet to open up a 25-metre gap at the two-mile mark.
Clinging on in third place, Farah struggled to keep pace with the leading pair as they stretched their lead, but with two miles left, 2007 champion Kibet started to fade.
With the Kenyan looking jaded, Farah dug deep to step up a gear and close in on history, passing Kibet and breathing down the neck of Mokoka.
The pair were embroiled in a tug-of-war for the lead with just over a mile to go.
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Neither runner would concede defeat as they zeroed in on the finish line, but Farah managed to clinch victory by a single stride in a time of 46.26. Mokoka finished a second behind with Kibet third in 47.16.
"The boys didn't make it easy at all for me," said Farah. "I think they wanted to get rid of me. Stephen went off and kept pushing and pushing."
Even when it looked as though Farah had dropped off the pace, he placed faith in his tactics and it paid off with the help of the crowd.
"When we went through 10km I knew it was quite fast, and with the last two miles, knowing it was going to be windy, I was thinking I must keep some energy because conditions weren't easy," he said.
"The crowd made a big difference for me by cheering my name. It's a nice feeling, particularly in those last two miles."
Farah was in good company with team-mates from last week's National Road Relay Champion-ships taking top 10 finishes.
Moumin Geele crossed the line in fifth place with a time of 48.00 and Lee Merrien recorded a time of 49.23 to finish 10th.
MEANWHILE, Farah was at it again the weekend before as he helped the Beagles to become champions at the ERRA National Road Relay Championships.
Competing at Sutton Park, Birmingham, the men's senior team, who are already British League chamnpions following their summer exploits, set a new course record of 1:43.14.
The team of Dave Mitchinson (17.30), Chris Mackay (17.16), Lee Merrien (17.10) Kevin Skinner (17.42), Mo Farah (16.33) and Moumin Geele (17.03) were one minute and 40 seconds ahead of the chasing pack, shattering the course record by 70 seconds.
It was Farah's first appearance in the event since 2006, but he soon got into the swing of things, clocking the fastest-ever time by a Beagle in the race, and the fastest by any athlete on the day.
He also stuck around to sign autographs for his army of fans at the event.
The Beagles B team finished in a respectable 23rd place.