Mary Keitany set new course record in UK

Olympic, world and European champion Mo Farah became the first British winner of the Great North Run men’s race for 29 years by holding off Kenya’s Mike Kigen in a thrilling finish.

The pair fought it out for much of the race before Farah pulled clear in the final 200m of the 13.1-mile course.

The 31-year-old set a new British half marathon best of exactly one hour.

Kenya’s Mary Keitany set a new course record to win the women’s race ahead of Britain’s Gemma Steel.

Steel’s compatriot Shelly Woods won her sixth title in the women’s wheelchair race, while the men’s race went to Spain’s Jordi Madera.

Farah, who lost out to Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele in a sprint finish in last year’s race, came into the event after missing the Commonwealth Games but winning double gold at the European Championships in Zurich.

He and training partner Kigen pulled away at an early stage and though Farah looked as though he was struggling at times, he stayed patient before making his move to become the first male home winner since Steve Kenyon.

“It feels great but I had to dig in deep out there,” Farah told BBC Sport. “Mike kept on pushing and I just wanted to hang on in there and I knew I had the pace at the end.

“I was surprised how well he was running. I didn’t think I could run that fast but it is great to finish the season with a win.

“With 200m to go I pushed but I didn’t know how much I still had and as soon as I started to celebrate I saw Mike coming back at me again.”

Farah’s time improves his own best in the event – just one of his long list of British records which includes the 1500m, 5,000 and 10,000m on the track and 5k and 10k on the road.

But he admitted he had “learned a lot” from an “up and down” year.

He added: “Now I want to take a break and relax and get ready for the World Championships next year.”

Keitany, the 2012 London Marathon champion who has returned from time off to have a baby, was well clear of the rest of the field and her time of 65 minutes 39 seconds beat Paula Radcliffe’s 2003 mark by one second, while Steel set a new personal best of 68:18.

About 57,000 people are taking part in the race which was run for the first time in 1981.

Mary Keitany breaks Paula Radcliffe's record

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