Racing in very wet conditions, Kenyan Martin Mathathi and Lucy Kabuu both scored convincing victories to win the Bupa Great Edinburgh Run titles on Sunday (2) morning.
After their solid victories at the Bupa Great North Run Half Marathon a fortnight earlier, the pair returned to British soil to add to those laurels with winning times of 28:03 and 32:28, the former a course record for Mathathi.
Mathathi was given a tough fight throughout his 10 kilometres race by his his fellow countryman Titus Mbishei before stifling the threat of the defending champion by five seconds with just over a kilometre to run with Tom Humphries of Great Britain third in 29:18.
Indeed, the 20-year-old Mbishei, with constant changes of pace which saw him constantly snatching back the leading position after the pair broke clear after two kilometres, looked as if the pressure he had exerted would see him retain his title when opening a sizeable 25 metre gap just after eight kilometres.
But Mathathi, a former World 10,000m track bronze medallist and renowned fast finisher, never threw in the towel. His short pitter patter strides gradually got him alongside, then past, his much longer striding opponent in what was a thrilling conclusion to the race.
"I found it very tough with Titus constantly surging and it did hurt me, but this was another important race for me to win. It wasn't easy with all the changes of pace he kept making," said Mathathi, who lives in Japan and insists competing in the 2012 London Olympics 10,000m is for the present his major ambition.
"That is my best distance and what I am training for and will concentrate on in the winter," he added."Then afterwards I am planning to move up to the Marathon and after my recent results feel it will be the best thing for me."
Kabuu was again also in brilliant form after her runaway victory in the Great North Run from Newcastle to South Shields, when storming to another equally convincing success.
The 2006 Commonwealth 10,000m champion - eager to return to Glasgow and regain the title in less than three years time - despite the conditions, broke clear before the halfway point passed in 16:58 before forging onwards to clinch the victory.
Kabuu was always at the front, initially sharing the early pace with European indoor 3000m gold medallist Helen Clitheroe as Charlotte Purdue and Commonwealth Marathon champion Irene Jerotich tracked them. She then clearly showed she was a class act above the rest of the field.
However Purdue, a former European junior Cross Country medallist, again indicated after a knee operation in May which wrecked her track season that she is back on target to realising her massive potential when taking second in 32:58, a healthy 18 seconds ahead of Jerotich.
The race was between the quartet after breaking clear in the first two kilometres but the two Britons - Clitheroe placed fourth in 34:33 - were caught flat footed when Jerotich put in a testing surge at three kilometres which took her and team mate Kabuu into a 20 metre lead.
However at four kilometres Kabuu virtually wrapped up victory when hitting the front and gradually opened a 20 metre gap which got bigger and bigger although having to run carefully in the wet conditions.
"I kept going at my pace but I was fearing the others might catch me on the downhill stretches where it was really slippery," said Kabuu, unaware she had a massive lead.
"I feel really good," said 20-year-old Purdue. "I was quite surprised it seemed so easy. They (the Kenyans) went clear at 4km but by 6km I had pulled Irene back and could see Lucy. I just kept pushing as I didn't want the gap to get any bigger, although at 8km it began hurting a little."
After the best season of her career where apart from her European indoor success she also made the World 5000m final and won the Bupa Great Manchester Run, Clitheroe announced this would be her last competition of the year.
The 37-year-old now plans a short break before joining other British endurance runners at at UK Athletics high altitude training camp in Kenya next month.
David Martin for the IAAF
Leading Results -
1, M Mathathi (Kenya) 28:03, 2, T Mbishei (Kenya) 28:08, 3, T Humphries (GB) 29:18, 4, M Kenneally (Ireland) 29:23. 5, J-M Martinez (Spain) 29:42, 6, J Utriainen (Finland) 29:43, 7, A Lemoncello (GB) 30:00, 8, S Stokes (GB) 30:01, 9, D Mitchinson (GB) 30:54, 10, J Newsom (GB) 30:58.
1, L Kabuu (Kenya) 32:28, 2, C Purdue (GB ) 32:58, 3, I Jerotich (Ken) 33:16, 4, H Clitheroe (GB) 34:33, 5, C Casandra (Romania) 35:13, 6, H Dix (GB) 35:38, 7, Anna Jakubczak (Poland) 36:03, 8, I Monteiro (Portugal) 36:04, 9, S Inglis (GB) 36:21, 10, Aleksandra Jakubczak (Poland) 36:03
- 58:56 course record for Martin Mathathi at the Great North Run (Mark Shearman) © Copyright
- Lucy Kabuu of Kenya wins the 2011 Great North Run (Mark Shearman) © Copyright