2010 Bupa London 10,000
Farah extends his own British 10km record in style
Defending champion Mo Farah clocked a British 10km road best of 27:44 in todayâ€™s Bupa London 10,000, outsprinting world record holder Micah Kogo for victory in the capital.
The pair were in contention from the start alongside Kenyaâ€™s Gordon Mahugu and Britainâ€™s Chris Thompson, the USA-based 29-year-old who clocked 27:29.61 - the third fastest 10,000m track time by a Briton - in Stanford, California on 1 May. But the real damage was done early in the second half as the leaders passed through 6km in 16:54, recording the fastest split of the race so far (2:45), and doing enough to drop the remaining challengers.
The race started conservatively as a large pack passed through 1km in 2:50, but as they left Westminster on the horizon, a group of five - headed by Farah and Kogo - had broken clear. By the time they hit the 2km mark in 5:41 the chasing group, led by British pair Dan Robinson and Ben Whitby, were already 30m adrift and out of contention.
As the pace picked up along the Embankment, Britainâ€™s Phil Wicks, multiple winner of the Standard Chartered Great City Race, dropped off the back of the group and as they passed under Blackfriars Bridge and through 3km in 8:30, he was already 15m down and working alone, with Robinson and Whitby a further 80m behind.
By the halfway point Farah and Kogo, alongside Mahugu â€“ who has a 27:29.09 PB - and Thompson had clocked their fastest split of the race so far and went through 5km in 14:09, 15 seconds clear of Wicks.
While the quartet had worked together through the early stages, Farah and Kogo now appeared to be stamping their authority on proceedings, taking the race on with Mahugu and Thompson tucked in behind. By 6km, having picked up the pace yet again to clock a 2:45 split, the gap was significant and the damage done. Thompson was now 10m down with no response to the fast pace set by the lead duo.
As they turned back onto the Embankment the crowd was noticeably behind Farah as he edged in front of Kogo for the first time. There was also vociferous support for Thompson, who set his 10km road PB in Manchester in March to kick-start an outstanding season to date, as he increased his lead on Muhugu to 10m.
The leaders went through 8km in 22:19, the pace increasing yet again as they approached Waterloo Bridge and back into view of Westminster, and the advantage appeared to rest once more with 2008 champion Kogo, the Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist, as he moved marginally ahead of Farah. But the reigning European indoor 3000m champion wasnâ€™t finished and with 200m to go he raced into pole position and kicked with style to clock an impressive 27:44 for victory, his second British record and Bupa London 10,000 win in successive years.
"I knew I was in great shape coming into today and I was confident," said Farah who has recently returned from a period of training in Kenya alongside Kogo, his regular training partner and good friend. He said: "My aim was to come out and run hard and if the pace was good just to go with it."
"I love London and I get loads of support and with 200m to go I just went 'boom'! I'm now excited and looking forward to the European 10km next weekend."
He was also delighted to have his old British rival Chris Thompson back, saying: "Itâ€™s awesome, Iâ€™ve missed him."
Kogo, who finished second in 27:49, said he didnâ€™t feel 100 per cent: â€œToday I felt tired and my body just didnâ€™t react when it needed to,â€ he said. â€œMo is a good friend, but when it comes to competition weâ€™re rivals. I now have a weekâ€™s rest then Iâ€™ll race the 5000m in the Diamond League in Rome.â€
For Thompson, who was third in 28:27, it was admittedly one high quality race too much in a tough one-month period. â€œThis last month Iâ€™ve found myself in three historic 10km races, including this one,â€ said Thompson. â€œIâ€™m so happy with how I felt and just so happy to line up with Mo again. Iâ€™m pleased with how strong I felt â€“ my stride was fluent â€“ but when they took off it was a stretch too far. Iâ€™d love to have done one less 10km this month and see how I could have done today but overall I felt strong and fresh and it was really great to line up alongside Mo.â€
Not to be outdone, the womenâ€™s race was of outstanding quality at the sharp end. Kenyaâ€™s Mary Keitany, the world record holder over 25km, raced to victory in an incredible 31:05, a new course record and lifetime best performance.
The diminutive Kenyan, whose best 10km time prior to this morning was 31:09 set in San Juan in February this year, has burst to prominence over the last eight months, beginning with victory in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham in October 2009 in a new African record of 66:36.
Most recently, in her last race before lining up in the capital this morning, she smashed the world 25km road record with 1:19:53, the first time a woman has ever broken 1:20.
â€œIâ€™m very happy that I won today, but also that I tried my best and ran a personal best,â€ she said. â€œI got away at 3km when I pushed on a bit then I just maintained it.â€
Doris Changeywo finished second in 32:15 with Edith Chelimo in third (34:30).
â€œAfter 3km Mary ran off and I tried to follow her but she was too fast,â€ said Changeywo. â€œI was on my own then I started to catch up with some if the men. I kept on trying to catch her but I couldnâ€™t.â€
Having broken clear at the 3km mark, Keitany ran alone today, but her performance most certainly didnâ€™t go unnoticed and the world will watch with interest over the coming months as she plans to debut over the marathon distance this autumn.
Behind the elites more than 8,000 runners took part in the event around central London on a route which will form part of the Olympic marathon course in 2012.
1. Mo Farah (Newham & Essex Beagles) 27:44
â€¨2. Micah Kogo (Kenya) 27:49â€¨
3. Chris Thompson (Aldershot, Farnham & District) 28:17â€¨
4. Gordon Muhugu (Kenya) 28:47â€¨
5. Phil Wicks (Belgrave) 29:09â€¨
6. Dan Robinson (Stroud) 29:41
1. Mary Keitany (Kenya) 31:06â€¨
2. Doris Changeywo (Kenya) 32:15â€¨
3. Edith Chelimo (Kenya) 34:30â€¨
4. Getenesh Tamarate (Belgrave) 34:54â€¨
5. Emily Adams (Aldershot, Farnham & District) 35:01â€¨
6. Hollie Rowland (City of Norwich) 35:08