“GLASGOW is my lucky city,” Moses Kipsiro beamed. The Ugandan, however, is an expert at cultivating his own good fortune. Fourteen months after claiming marathon gold at the Commonwealth Games, he added to his tally of triumphs here in yesterday’s Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run, breaking the resolve of his pursuers with an easy grace before splitting the finishing tape in one hour, two minutes and 18 seconds.
The undulations of the city provide tests of stamina and strategy. Kipsiro had both in abundance. Just when it seemed that Callum Hawkins might pull off an unexpected Caledonian conquest, his African rival found an extra gear with three miles left, daring his challengers to follow with a quick burst of speed and then bidding them farewell when they opted to hold back.
“I was confident in my running, especially when it came to the break,” he said. “I was feeling OK at 15 kilometres and I could have sat for a while. But I said to myself: ‘no, it’s time to make a push.’ And I went for it.”
Hawkins had little to regret in serving as runner-up in 1:02:42, just 14 seconds adrift of Allister Hutton’s long-standing Scottish half-marathon record. The Great Britain internationalist, still just 23, is just 20 days away from his maiden outing over the full 26 miles and 385 yards in Frankfurt, a gamble he hopes will pay off with a place at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Using this as a dress rehearsal, he barely fluffed a line with Kenya’s reigning world cross-country champion Japheth Korir left in his wake in the closing chase. “I missed the ten-mile mark, which threw me off a little bit,” said Hawkins, whose elder brother Derek returned from a groin injury to come eighth.
“I maybe should have gone for it when he pulled away but I didn’t. About 20 seconds later I caught myself and managed to hold him but he started getting away from me again. It was probably the right decision in the end to hold back because I still had enough left at the end rather than getting into trouble.” Edna Kiplagat successfully defended her women’s title in 1:08:21 with the two-time world champion ending up 91 seconds clear of fellow Kenyan Doris Changeiywo. “It felt very quick from the start,” Kiplagat said. “I was exactly where I wanted to be after three kilometres. My strategy was to go out fast and I tried to keep that pace as much as possible. As soon as I settled into a rhythm and moved away, I just kept pushing myself.”
European 10000m champion Jo Pavey was pipped for third by Gemma Steel but the 42-year-old from Exeter’s time of 1:09:58 was the quickest-ever by an over-40 Briton. Beth Potter was the leading Scot in seventh.
Sammi Kinghorn warmed up for her four-pronged tilt at this month’s IPC World Championships by landing the women’s wheelchair title for the second time in 28:44. The 19-year-old Borderer, who won in 2012 on her debut, was well clear of defending champion Jade Jones in her final outing for heading to Qatar.
“Things are going well,” the European champion said. “I’m a bit nervous because it’s my first world championships. But now my training will shift into sprint work to get ready for Doha.”
Carlisle’s Simon Lawson took victory in the men’s race while Ben Stevenson and Jenny Bannerman won the adjoining men’s and women’s 10Ks.