Manchester, EnglandHaile Gebrselassie shattered the United Kingdom all-comers 10km record on his way to winning this morning's BUPA Great Manchester Run.
"Of course I can run two hours four minutes" for a marathon
The Ethiopian, who broke away from the field at the halfway point, covered the distance in 27:25 - an improvement of 14 seconds on the previous UK best set by Felix Limo of Kenya in Swansea three years ago. The time is the fastest in the world in 2005.
Gebrselassie, who reconfirmed last week that his future rests entirely on the road with the focus on the marathon distance - click here for the original story - finished ahead of a world-class field with Juan Carlos de la Ossa of Spain second and Sergiy Lebid of the Ukraine third.
De la Ossa, who won the Great Caledonian Run in Edinburgh a fortnight ago, lowered his Spanish record to 27:55, while Lebid ran a lifetime best of 28:14, which was also a national record.
There was a brilliant performance from Chris Davies who finished fifth and ran a time of 28:37 which moved the Telford athlete to the top of this year's British rankings.
But the day belonged to Gebrselassie who was at the front of the leading pack which flew through the first kilometre in a lightning two minutes 41 seconds, then by the half distance had, apart from de la Ossa, broken the field.
That wasn't surprising as they motored through five kilometres in 13:52 which made it inevitable he was going to decimate Limo's fastest-ever time on British soil.
Gebrselassie then rid himself of the challenge of de las Ossa with a swift 2:51 kilometre split, completing the second circuit in a very impressive 13:33.
"I could have run under 27 minutes if there had been pacemakers," said Gebrselassie highly delighted to have performed so well, in his first race for over three months, after his rampant run.
The World record holder for the 10km distance with a time of 27:02, said: "I was a little bit worried about the weather and the possibility of the wind getting up," but to his relief, Manchester failed to live up to its reputation as a wet city.
"It was a little bit on the cold side and as I said if I hadn't been running on my own, it would have been a much faster time," added Gebrselassie.
Gebrselassie who is planning an autumn marathon insisted his win although highly welcome, didn't tell him anything about how he will fare when seriously stepping up to the distance.
"They're two different races and totally different in concept," said Gebrselassie who missed last month's Flora London Marathon when not quite racing fit after recovering from an Achilles operation.
But he warned his rivals: "Of course I can run two hours four minutes. I will have to if I want to break the World record," currently standing to a previous Manchester champion Paul Tergat who ran 2:04:55 in Berlin in 2003.
Kiplagat takes women's title
In the women's race Lornah Kiplagat, the Kenyan-born star now representing The Netherlands, took the title with the fastest time on British soil this year of 31:28.
Kiplagat had a seven-second advantage ahead of Jelena Trokopcuka from Latvia who also posted a national record of 31:35.
Kiplagat's cousin Hilda Kibet earned third place for Kenya in 31:46 while Charlotte Dale was the first Briton across the line in 32:51 heading off the challenge of two-time Olympic 10,000m champion Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia by two seconds.
Dave Martin – PA International – for the IAAF
MANCHESTER, May 22 (BUPA Great Manchester Run 10K)
1. H Gebrselassie (Eth) 27:25 (UK-All-Comers' record)
2 .J-C de la Ossa (Esp) 27:55 (National record),
3. S Lebid (Ukr) 28:14 (National record),
4. W Taragon (Ken) 28:32,
5. C Davies (Telford) 28:37,
6. S Baldini (Ita) 28:53,
7. W Talel (Ken) 28:55,
8. A Gurkin (Rus) 28:58,
9. K Cullen (Highgate) 29:01,
10. J-M Martinez (Spa) 29:05,
1. L Kiplagat (Ned) 31:28
2. J Prokopcuka (Lat) 31:35,
3. H Kibet (Ken) 31:46,
4. C Dale (Invicta) 32:51,
5. D Tulu (Eth) 32:53,
6. M McCambridge (Ire) 32:59,
7. M Yamauchi (Harrow) 33:08,
8. G Syrek (Pol) 33:40,
9. M Seboka (Eth) 34:11,
10. B Dagne (Belgrave) 34:29