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Kenyan double in Great South Run
1:07pm Sunday 27th October 2013 in Hampshire Sport
Kenyans Emmanuel Bett and Florence Kiplagat defied gale force conditions to score convincing victories and capture their respective Bupa Great South Run titles in Portsmouth on Sunday.
Bett had the tougher contest in his 10 mile race, before destroying the threat of South Africa’s defending champion Stephen Mokoka with one last major break in the last mile to win by 19 seconds in a time of 48:03, with Uganda’s Thomas Ayeko a distant third third in 49:08.
“The course was nice, even with the wind, and my opponents made it tough for me,” said Bett.
Acknowledging the contribution made throughout by Mokoka, Bett revealed: “He kept telling me: ‘Keep it moving, keep it moving.’ And that was encouragement for me. He gave me a hard time before I won.”
Mokoka said: “It was difficult, especially the last two miles. I tried to push against the wind but it was very difficult. The wind was blowing with us and at some point he [Bett] shifted away from me, but I came back. I tried to push the pace, but in the last two miles he made a move and I couldn’t go with him.”
Andy Vernon was first Briton home, holding off the USA’s four-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman by two seconds in 49:21.
Kiplagat enjoyed a much easier success in the women’s race.
The 26-year-old, who just a month ago won a second BMW Berlin Marathon title, clocked a time of 53:53 to win at a canter ahead of fellow Kenyan Polline Wanjiku, who recorded 56:43.
Great Britain’s Charlotte Purdue was an excellent third in 56:57.
Kiplagat, a former World Cross Country and Half Marathon Championships gold medallist, broke the field almost from the start and a speedy second mile of 5:04 took her into an unassailable lead which just got longer and longer.
“I’ve never run in such strong winds,” she said.
“I struggled in the last two miles, swaying around having to resist the wind. I didn’t seem to be going anywhere.
“I will be coming next year, this is a wonderful race.”
North Hampshire runner Purdue, who was running her first race for 14 months after a succession of serious injuries, was a revelation in unexpectedly making the podium.
“I’ve waited so long to get back into racing. I’ve missed it so much," said the 22-year-old.
“I’m so excited about how everything has gone. It was a good, hard race and I am going home a very happy person.”
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