Andrew Lemoncello completed a perfect weekend with an inaugural victory in the Bupa Great Edinburgh Run yesterday, less than 48 hours after claiming a UK Championship for the first time in his career.
The 30-year-old has been beset by a series of injuries over the past two years but offered conclusive proof of his fitness, and his emergent form, by powering clear of Tyneside-based Ethiopian Yared Hagos over the final kilometre in the capital to reach the finish in Holyrood Park in 30 minutes and 18 seconds.
The Beijing Olympian is scheduled to undergo tests with Scottish Athletics medical staff today before flying back to his base in Arizona. On the cards is a potential attempt to gain the 10,000 metres qualification time for next year’s Commonwealth Games which proved elusive on Friday in Birmingham. Top of his priority list is staying healthy headed into a 2014 season that might also include a return to the marathon.
However, having come runner-up 12 months ago in Edinburgh, it was another boost to his hopes as he finished ahead of Hagos and Ireland’s Stewart Scullion.
“Last year when I ran I put everything on the line and still came up short so it was great to be able to win,” said Lemoncello. “I did feel tired as I didn’t get much sleep because of the jet lag, so I’m just glad I managed to pull it off.”
And the Fifer unveiled plans to return to his homeland later this year for the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow. “I’m really looking forward to that one, but everything now is focused on the Commonwealth Games in 2014,” he added.
Two-time Olympian Jen Rhines dominated the women’s race, leading from start to finish to become the first American winner since Deena Kastor in a time of 34:22.
“The atmosphere was fantastic though and it’s just a been a beautiful day,” she said. “This was my first road race in Europe actually, so that makes it extra special but I expect to be back racing in the Bupa Great Run series soon.”
Nicola Duncan, in a personal best of 36:35, was second in holding fellow Scot Jennifer McLean in a sprint for the line. More than 7000 finishers, of varying abilities, followed the leaders home.