The BUPA Great North Run was decided in the end by one of the tightest and most incredible sprint finishes ever in a long-distance event.
Approaching the final 100m of the 13.1 mile race, Micah Kogo of Kenya seemingly had the victory in his grasp, with a two-three metre gap on his main rival and compatriot Wilson Kipsang.
But a remarkable turn of pace from Kipsang in the last fifty metres saw him snatch victory on the line to add this triumph to his other victory on UK shores earlier this year at the Virgin London Marathon. Kipsang's winning time of 59:06 was the third fastest ever on the famous North-East course.
Great Britain's Chris Thompson smashed his personal best for the distance and with it moved to number three on the UK all-time list as he finished sixth in 1:01:00. Morpeth Harriers' Nick McCormick made an impressive debut, finishing inside the top-10 in 1:02:44.
In the elite women's event, Tirunesh Dibaba waited and waited before hitting the front in the final kilometre to take the victory on her half marathon debut.
Sitting behind the leading duo of Kenya's Edna Kiplagat and Olympic Marathon gold medallist Tiki Gelana for the majority of the race, Dibaba finally went to the front along the mile-long finishing straight. Gelana was first to fall as Dibaba increased the tempo but Kiplagat continued to hold on and make life uncomfortable for the Ethiopian.
But Dibaba's speed and strength were ultimately too much for the Kenyan as she took the victory by a six second margin in a time of 1:07:35.
Jo Pavey rounded off an incredible summer by finishing the highest placed Briton in fifth in 1:09:20. Charnwood AC's Gemma Steel ran a huge personal best to finish seventh in 1:10:46 as Caryl Jones (1:11:18) knocked almost three minutes off her best to finish one place further back.
Selected reports from the web on the BUPA Great North Run:
Almost 40,000 people took part in the Great North Run - the annual half marathon from Newcastle to South Shields.
Wilson Kipsang produced a superb sprint finish to win the event with a time of 59 minutes and six seconds. Ethiopia's Olympic 10,000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba won the women's race on her half marathon debut. Canadian Josh Cassidy, a world marathon record holder, won the wheelchair race in a time of 43 minutes 18 seconds. BBC
First it was Kipsang surging ahead when the road dropped steeply towards the long finishing straight next to the North Sea. However there was still one mile to go.
"I was trying to run faster and faster because I knew Wilson was still behind me", said Kogo. IAAF
Chris Thompson is another runner who will be high on the list of potential signings for the London Marathon – if not next year then perhaps in 2014. He ran 61:00 in sixth place to smash his 61:23 PB and is now the third-quickest Briton of all time over 13.1 miles.
“I’m over the moon”, said Thompson, who knocked back marathon speculation by insisting he has unfinished business on the track. Athletics Weekly
Jo Pavey was satisfied with her fifth place finish in today's Great North Run and believes it has been the perfect transition back into road racing.
"I was fairly pleased. I wished I could have stayed up those top few but at one point they got away. I kept going and I would have liked to have been up with them but it wasn't a bad time”. The Independent