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Gebrselassie wins fourth BUPA Great Manchester Run
Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie clinches the BUPA Great Manchester Run win yesterday in 28 minutes and 10 seconds ahead of Briton Chris Thomson (28:21) and Ukraine's Sergiy Lebid (28:25).
Despite the rain and windy conditions, the 38-year-old "Emperor", with a fourth overall and third consecutive victory in the 10km road race, convincingly dismissed the challenge of young British pretender Chris Thompson with 2½km of their encounter remaining to win in 28 minutes and 10 seconds.
There was plenty of pre-race speculation that European Championships 10000m silver medallist Thompson could score a surprise win over Gebrselassie after running a personal best 27min 27.36sec, and for almost 8km it remained a possibility.
But at 7 ½km judgement time came with a bang when the world marathon record holder hit the front.
Gebrselassie, winding up the pace gradually, began to pull clear and the hard work he put in saw him reap just rewards when stretching 11 seconds ahead of Thompson at the line with the fast-finishing Lebid third in 28min 25sec.
"I held up well until he opened up that gap," said Thompson after what was an intriguing tussle with the world's greatest ever runner.
"He looked at me four or five times to see where I was and then grinned before going away."
Thompson, now based in the US and coached by Mark Rowland, added: "I knew by going with him from the start I might be sacrificing my run but it was the only thing I could do as I wanted to cover every surge.
"It was disconcerting to think he would back off and of course it never happened. If I had won, it would have been a dream come true.
"But I needed a quality race like this and it showed after my preparations in Oregon with Mark that I am in great shape."
Gebrselassie said: "I'd heard on coming here there was a new man in the race who could trouble me and he did that.
"I didn't expect the "boy" to be with me for so long and with the strong wind not helping, he made it a very hard race until I went clear."
Gebrselassie, his eyes now set on achieving the Olympic marathon qualifying standard in the summer, added: "I tell you he'll be a problem if I come back next year."
Clitheroe was elated after pulling off a victory everyone dreamed she would achieve but realistically doubted given the strength of the overseas opposition.
But taking inspiration from her European Indoor 3000m gold medal achievement in March, a recent spell of altitude training in Font Romeu and a brilliant 4.25km road race win the previous weekend in Lucerne, she was totally motivated for this race and armed with a new and massive self belief.
The 37-year-old local Preston Harrier, who has been on the international scene for almost 15 years, produced her fantastic victory with a gun-to-tape success in the a la carte front running style renowned of world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe.
Never headed, Clitheroe gradually ground down her opponents, including two-time champion and course record holder Berhane Adere of Ethiopia.
The race was quickly reduced to a head-to-head confrontation between Clitheroe and pre-race favourite Grace Momanyi, though the tiny Kenyan later admitted that the biting wind was the breaking of her.
Indeed, after she and Clitheroe got clear around 8km, she found herself passed in the final kilometre by Christelle Daunay - France's multi-record distance running record holder, who beat Radcliffe for third place in the 2009 New York marathon - as she finished well in 31min 58sec with a struggling Momanyi third in 32min 05sec.
Clitheroe said: "I didn't expect to win and the race was a bit weird as I'm not used to racing and beating a great field they way I did."
The British 3000m steeplechase record holder added: "It's a huge stepping stone for the track season where hopefully I will qualify for the 5000m at the World Championships."
1 H Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) 28:10
2 C Thompson (GB) 28:21
3 S Lebid (Ukraine) 28:25
4 C Mottram (Australia) 28:36
5 M Fagan (Ireland) 28:39
6 J Walsh (GB) 28:42
7 S Overall (GB) 28:49
8 J Mellor (GB) 28:50
9 A Ledwith (Ireland) 29:02
10 R McLeod (GB) 29:04
1 H Clitheroe (GB) 31:45
2 C Daunay (France) 31:58
3 G Momanyi (Kenya) 32:04
4 S Moreira (Portugal) 32:11
5 A Incerti (Italy) 32:35
6 B Adere (Ethiopia) 33:07
7 K Wootton (GB) 33:14
8 H Whitmore (GB) 33:37
9 S Samuels (GB) 33:43
10 L Whittle (GB) 33:47
1 D Weir (GB) 22:23
2 S Lawson (GB) 25:24
3 R Low (GB) 28:01
4 S Bloor (GB) 28:45
5 J Richards (GB) 38:57
1 N Emmerson (GB) 31:50
2 C Martin (GB) 35:50
3 M Dawson Farrell (GB) 35:57
4 T Grey-Thompson (GB) 39:29
5 J Smethurst (GB) 47:59