John Yuda remaining very focused and not panicking despite going off course, won the BUPA Great South Run for the second time in three years this morning in Portsmouth. But the 26-year-old Tanzanian insisted the incident four miles into the race when following a television crew's motor cycle rather than the lead car, prevented him breaking his national record.
Yuda the Commonwealth Games 10000 metres bronze medallist finished the 10 miles race in a time of 46:45 minutes, well clear of Hendrick Ramaala and Wilfred Taragon who also mistakenly followed the motorbike. "Going around the rounadabout twice probably cost me several seconds," said Yuda who two years ago over the fast south coast course, clocked a Tanzanian record time of 46:35 minutes.
"It is disappointing that this happened, but it was also important I forgot it and that I got back into the race as quickly as possible," said Yuda a two-times World Half Marathon bronze medallist. "I just got on with running and getting back to the front," said Yuda who didn't let the error upset him and powered back to the head of the field for an easy victory ahead of Ramaala and Taragon.
Ramaala defending his title and using the race as preparation for next month's New York City marathon which he also won last November, clocked 47:39."One minute we were clear at the front and then after following the bike and going around the roundabout we were 30 yards behind," said the South African. He added: "I tried my hardest to get back into the race and fortunately I did, although it had me stretching. "But as I expected John who loves going off fast did just that and when recovering from the mistake, again piled on the pace. It was a tough race."
Taragon from Kenya battled brilliantly to try and steal the runners-up slot from Ramaala but in their sprint finish he lost out by just three seconds. John Mayock like Ramaala using the event as final preparation for New York where he will make his marathon debut, clocked a personal best time of 48:18. But the former track star although running over a minute quicker than 12 months ago for eighth place finished two behind the first Briton Angus MacLean, who was two seconds faster.
Derartu Tulu produced a brilliant performance to shatter with a runaway victory, the Ethiopian record with a winning time of 51:27. Tulu - she previously won the race in 1996 - decimated the former national record of 52:55 set three years ago in Washington DC by Teyiba Erkiso. "I'm a little disappointed I wasn't a little faster," said Tulu who pre-race, did have her thoughts on Sonia O'Sullivan's former world and current course record of 51minutes.
"But I think it was a good showing as last week in Edmonton I was coughing badly and suffering with a bad cold," said Tulu 15th at the World Half Marathon Championships. "I am pleased to have won another big race in this country," added Tulu who with a similar strong performance won the BUPA Great North Run three years ago.
Elfenesh Alemu her fellow Ethiopian and fourth in last summer's Olympic marathon, also smashed Erkiso's former mark with a time of 52:18. Alemu's clocking was 10 seconds ahead of Aniko Kalovics whose time of 52:28 vastly improved Karolina Szabo's Hungarian record by 38seconds.
Hayley Yelling the European cross country champion was fourth and first Briton home in a personal best time of 53:03, but O'Sullivan struggled throughout the race. The Irish star twice winner of the race and fighting back from a spell of sickness, finished 11th in 56:51.