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General News On a fresh, sun

Radcliffe and Baha winners of Great North Run, Tulu wins in Lisbon

From IAAF Correspondent in Newcastle and Agency reports
22 October 2000 – Tyneside, Great Britain - On a fresh, sun-drenched morning on the northern coast of Great Britain, a star was born and a reputation enhanced.

Unknown Tanzanian Faustin Baha led from start to finish to win the men’s race in the Great North Run while Paula Radcliffe produced one of the best displays of her life to win the women’s event.

Baha? He holds the world junior half marathon best and at 18, after a series of good placings on the cross country scene over the last couple of years, he has made his mark.

This course, which runs from Newcastle, across the famous Tyne Bridge and finishes on the coastal road by South Shields, is one the most undulating on the half-marathon circuit.

But that did not affect Baha who took the advantage from the gun and every time there was a sense he might tire, he just stretched his advantage with a powerful increase of speed and no danger of being passed. In a field including Brazil’s Ronaldo da Costa, the former holder of the world-best time for the marathon, and experienced marathon runners such as Mexico’s Dionicio Ceron and Antonio Pinto of Portugal, this was a one-man race.

Baha, a name the athletics world may now become accustomed to hearing, won in 1:01.57minutes.

As the big names fell away, a British runner took second—to almost as much surprise as Baha’s victory.

Andy Coleman, who lives just a mile from the site in London where the World Championships will take place in 2005, finished in 1:02.28mins with John Mutai, the defending champion from Kenya, third in 1:02.28mins.

Pinto was 16th in 1:04.39mins, da Costa 26th in 1:07.42mins and Ceron 35th in 1:09.01mins.

Radcliffe, captain of the British women’s athletics team, has a habit of front-running and trying to dominate races when she is on the track because her rivals have a greater finishing speed, took charge in the first mile here and, like Baha, never looked back.

If she had tried to, she would have needed a phenomenal pair of binoculars because she was so far in front of the next runner, who just happened to be Tegla Loroupe of Kenya, who holds the world-best time for the marathon.

But she was no match for Radcliffe who made up for her disappointment at the Olympic Games in Sydney where she finished fourth in the 10,000 metres final—having led for 9350m.

Radcliffe won in 1:07.07mins, breaking the European and British best time held by Scotland’s Liz McColgan by four seconds. Loroupe was exactly three minutes behind her in second place.

The Briton also broke the course record which had stood for 12 years, having been set by Norway’s Grete Waitz, by 1.42mins.

"With three miles remaining I knew there was a very good chance of breaking the course record so I began to put my foot down," she said.

"A mile later I realised that Liz McColgan's British record was within my sights and I knew I could get it. Coming along the final mile it was hurting very hard but the thousands who were cheering me along lifted me to achieve my target. I can't believe it."

Radcliffe aims to move to the marathon "sometime in the future" but has shown what a superb athlete she can be at half the distance, in this only her second race over 13.1miles. A year ago she was third here, 2.30mins slower.

"It was pleasing to run well as a pointer to what I might be able to do," said Radcliffe, whose targets for next year are the World Cross Country Championships in Dublin in March and the 10,000m at the World Championships in Edmonton, Canada.

Meanwhile, in Lisbon it was the turn of Ethiopia's Derartu Tulu. The two-time Olympic 10,000 metre champion
won the women's title at the Portuguese half-marathon here, with Kenya's David Makori taking the men's event.

The 28-year-old Tulu, gold medallist in Sydney and Barcelona, clocked 1hr 09min 05sec to come in ahead of Kenyans Susan Chepkemei (1:09.11) and Joyce Chepchumba (1:09.20).

Kenya swept the men's event with Makori clocking 1hr 01min 41sec and followed home by compatriots William Kalya (1:02.44) and David Chelule (1:02.53).

Selected results Great North Run

1, Faustin Baha, Tanzania, 61 minutes 57 seconds. 2, Andrew Coleman, Britain, 62:28. 3, John Mutai, Kenya, 62:34. 4, Vincenzo Modica, Italy, 62:35, 5 Martin Gielen, Netherlands, 62:37; 6, Giuliano Battocletti, Italy, 62:42.

1, Paula Radcliffe, Britain, 67:07. 2, Tegla Loroupe. Kenya, 70:07. 3, Yelena Prokopchuka, Latvia, 73:56. 4, Garce Misati, Kenya, 74:11. 5, Birhane Dagne, Britain, 74:29. 6, Anne van Schuppen, Netherlands, 75:44.