Great Manchester Run: Gemma Steel sprints to second

Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele held off Wilson Kipsang to win the men's event in Manchester yesterday. Picture: PA
Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele held off Wilson Kipsang to win the men's event in Manchester yesterday. Picture: PA
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Great Britain’s Gemma Steel came home second following a sprint finish at the Great Manchester Run yesterday morning.

The 28-year-old improved on her fourth-place result at last year’s event to finish Europe’s biggest 10km race with silver in 32 minutes and 10 seconds as she just held off Kenya’s Polline Wanjiku to the finish line.

The women’s elite race was won by world and Olympic 10,000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, who came home over a minute before Steel and Wanjiku in 31min 09secs.

Steel, bronze medallist at the 2011 European Cross Country Championships, said: “That really lifted me, I was fighting for that silver and it’s good to see that I can sprint when I have to.

“It’s good to establish myself in these races again, I feel at home in them. To come back and finish behind Dibaba, who is the best in the world, you can’t complain about that.”

In the men’s event, the race victory went to another Ethiopian in 5,000m and 10,000m world record holder Kenenisa Bekele, who crossed the line in 28:23.

Bekele held off the challenge of Kenya’s marathon world record holder Wilson Kipsang, who finished five seconds off the pace, while South African’s Stephen Mokoko came home in third place.

Former Manchester United and Everton defender Phil Neville was among the 40,000 entrants and admitted he struggled midway through the run before he finished in 45:58.

The 37-year-old former England international, said: “I started off too fast. From 4km to 7km I was struggling.

“I was actually looking for an ambulance at one point.”

Meanwhile, David Weir turned the tables on Swiss rival Marcel Hug to claim his first win on the final day of the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Nottwil on Sunday, triumphing in the T54 400 metres.

After losing out to Hug in the 800m, 1500m and 10,000m at the Swiss event, the four-time London 2012 champion beat him to the line by 0.12 seconds, clocking 47.50secs.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve won a 400m. After Beijing I retired from it because I was so disappointed with the final,” said Weir, who won 400m silver at the 2008 Paralympics.

“It’s good to beat the guys who train for the 400m. I’m happy now as I’ve got a win, but not in the distance I thought I’d win. I knew I had to wind it up and knew they’d catch me on the bends, but I knew I had a bit more drive down the home straight.”

Hug got his revenge in a thrilling 5,000m, though, proving stronger down the home straight this time to beat Weir into second. Despite only coming away with the solitary victory, the Briton was pleased to be back in the groove.

“It’s nice that I’ve got that confidence back of doing a fast few laps with the boys so we can get the times down again,” he said.