Zersenay Tadesse winning the 2005 BUPA Great North Run (Mark Shearman) © Copyright
General News 18 September 2005 – Newcastle, UK

Tadesse runs 59:05 Half Marathon at Great North Run

Newcastle, UKEritrea's Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist Zersenay Tadesse won this morning’s 25th anniversary running of the BUPA Great North Run in a time of 59:05, while Derartu Tulu won the women's race for Ethiopia.

MEN - Berhanu's record mission highjacked by Tadesse

September 2005 is proving to be quite a month for road running. First Haile Gebrselassie smashed the World best for 10 miles, then Samuel Wanjiru, subject to ratification, snipped Paul Tergat's official World record at Half Marathon. Now Tergat has lost his absolute world best for 21.1K, but not to the Great North Run race favourite Dejene Berhanu. Instead it was Eritrea's Zersenay Tadesse who stole the show on Sunday with the fastest-ever times at 20 kilometres and half-marathon.

In 2004 Berhanu entered with one week's notice and clocked 59:37. In 2005, he had trained more specifically for this event in his build-up to the Chicago marathon. He made it clear that he would be targeting Tergat's World best of 59:06 in this, his second "half". After Simon Tonui set a fast tempo with 4:17 for the first mile, Berhanu took over and sped through five miles in 22:15, some 46 seconds up on his corresponding pace of 2004.

41:27 for 15km!

The shorter figure of Tadesse stuck with the gangling Ethiopian while all other contenders were dropped. The Eritrean remained tucked in behind as the pair descended from the highest part of the course. Berhanu clocked 4:29 for miles 5-6 and went through 10K in a scorching 27:38. Then Tadesse showed that he had been biding his time. He worked the long downhill stretch with miles of 4:15 and 4:17 and Berhanu was dropped.

The Eritrean, fresh from a 10,000m personal best in Brussels, then slowed to 4:46 but was now climbing. He flashed through 15K in 41:27 (quicker than the official World record), and though he was now losing ground to the pace of Berhanu 2004, an overall sub-59 time was still within range. His 10 miles time was a brilliant 44:34, then he clocked off 4:42 and 4:45 miles to reach 20 kilometres in 56:03. With the finish in site he raised a kick and crossed the line as the clock ticked 59:05 - 06. After a short wait his time was confirmed as 59:05, a new world best and therefore worth an extra $10,000 to the winner.

 He had averaged around 4:30 per mile for 13.1 miles. Of course, neither the 56:03 or the 59:05 can be ratified as world records as the Great North course doesn't fulfill the necessary IAAF criteria. But this event has seen world bests by both men and women, as Paula Radcliffe clocked her 65:40 here two years ago.

After the finish, Tadesse did not fully understand the magnitude of his achievement and turned to his Spanish agent Julia García for an explanation about all the fuss. "I expected to beat my personal best but not the World record." García admitted that she felt a record was on the cards after Tadesse's run in Brussels. Since then he had been training at altitude in Asmera. There will be no immediate marathon début, "I will run one after I am 27," explained Tadesse. He is 23 now.

The depth behind the first two was not great, though in a British context John Mayock ran a useful 63:27 in sixth place, two ahead of his friend Jon Brown.

Women – Tulu triumphs and now eyes Edmonton

Earlier in the morning, Ethiopia had triumphed in the women's race through Derartu Tulu, who is running better now than ever on the roads. She led throughout the race, setting a Radcliffe-esque pace from the outset highlighted by a 4:44 sixth mile (although she then throttled back to 5:19 according to the lead car timing).

In the climb to the nine-mile point Tulu had dropped everyone except Kidane, Adere and Masai. Later she said she was confident of beating them as she regarded them as track specialists. Her confidence was justified as she pulled clear in the 49th minute of the race and in the midst of a 5:02 mile to the 10th. In the final mile Tulu appeared to be looking behind in panic but she later explained it was because she was distracted by a child running on the road beside her. Meanwhile Jelena Prokopchuka and Masai had overhauled Adere and the Latvian went on to duel with Kidane for second place.

"I was not looking for a time, I was trying to win," said Tulu, "because I've run this race many times before without winning." In sixth place, Mara Yamauchi became the fifth-fastest ever British half-marathoner. Starting with the mass runners rather than the elite was Sonia O'Sullivan, and she beat all but 10 men to place 11th in the consolidated women's standings.

Now Tulu will spearhead the Ethiopian women's challenge at the World Half Marathon Championships in Edmonton, an event which may now also feature Tadesse.

There were 38,075 starters.

Mark Butler for the IAAF


Great North Run Half Marathon

(Newcastle to South Shields, 18 September)

1,      Zersenay Tadesse  ERI     59:05*
2,      Dejene Berhanu  ETH    60:44
3,      Hendrick Ramaala  RSA     62:25
4,      Abdelkader El Mouaziz   MAR     62:32
5,      Mark Carroll    IRL     62:36
6,      John Mayock     GBR     63:27
7,      Julio Rey       ESP     63:37
8,      Jon Brown       GBR     63:44
9,      Luís Novo       POR     64:05
10,     Kassa Tadesse   GBR     64:22
11,     Simon Tonui     KEN     64:31
12,     Christian Nicolson  GBR     64:49
13,     Ian Hudspith    GBR     64:56
14,     David Wardle    GBR     65:15
15,     James Walsh     GBR     65:36
16,     Glen Stewart    GBR     66:14
17,     Spencer Barden  GBR     66:22
18,     Michael Coleman GBR     66:33
19,     Scott Winton    NZL     66:48
20,     Hassan Raidi    MAR     66:55

1M      4:17    (Tonui)
2M      8:42    (4:25) (Berhanu)
3M      13:10   (4:28) (Berhanu)
4M      17:41   (4:31) (Berhanu)
5M      22:15   (4:34) (Berhanu)
6M      26:44   (4:29) (Berhanu)
7M      30:59   (4:15)  (Tadesse)
8M      35:16   (4:17)  (Tadesse)
9M      40:02   (4:46)  (Tadesse)
10M     44:34   (4:32)  (Tadesse)
11M     49:16   (4:42)  (Tadesse)
12M     54:01   (4:45)  (Tadesse)
13M     58:49   (4:38)  (Tadesse) (estimate)

5K      13:34   (Berhanu)
10K     27:38   (Berhanu)
15K     41:27   (Tadesse)
20K     56:03   (Tadesse) - World best

1,      Derartu Tulu    ETH     67:33
2,      Worknesh Kidane ETH     68:09
3,      Jelena Prokopcuka       LAT     68:11
4,      Edith Masai     KEN     68:19
5,      Berhane Adere   ETH     69:47
6,      Mara Yamauchi   GBR     69:51)
7,      Catherine Ndereba       KEN     70:20
8,      Sally Barsosio  KEN     72:05
9,      Catherine Mutwa KEN     72:59
10,     Collette Fagan  GBR     73:44
11,     Sonia O'Sullivan        IRL     74:41
12,     Pauline Powell  GBR     75:19
13,     Nicola Slater   GBR     76:04
14,     Jessica Augusto POR     78:54
15,     Charlotte Dale  GBR     79:27
16,     Michael Bale    GBR     81:19
17,     Sue Harrison    GBR     81:43
18,     Bernadette Taylor       GBR     82:08
19,     Joanne Brewer   GBR     82:47
20,     Jennifer Murray GBR     83:00

Splits (Tulu leading throughout)
1M      5:05
2M      10:17   (5:12)
3M      15:31   (5:14)
4M      20:50   (5:19)
5M      25:57   (5:07)
6M      30:41   (4:44)
7M      36:00   (5:19)
8M      40:48   (4:48)
9M      46:16   (5:28)
10M     51:18   (5:02)
11M     56:30   (5:12)
12M     61:38   (5:08)
13M     67:10   (5:32) (estimate)

5K      Not taken
10K     32:10
15K     47:48
20K     64:06

*The time is the fastest ever run for the distance improving by one second the run of Paul Tergat in Lisbon, Portugal (26 March 2000) but will not be considered for World record purposes as the course from Newcastle to South Shields is slightly downhill (30.5m), as was the Lisbon route (69m). The current World record, subject to ratification, is the 59:16 performance that 18-year-old Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya set a week ago in Rotterdam, a time which bettered by one second another Tergat performance in Milan, Italy (4 April 1998).