Athletics: Johnson's cruise to victory helps ease Olympic pain
Monday 27 September 2004
It was a great north run for the London club, Thames Hare and Hounds, if not exactly for British distance running. While Dejene Berhanu ran away with the men's prize and the course record as the first Ethiopian winner of the Great North Run yesterday, the club which sounds like the name of a public house, could take a measure of reflected glory in Benita Johnson's success in the women's section of the world's biggest half-marathon.
The Australian spends eight months each year living and training in London and has been a member of the Hare and Hounds for the past two years. Johnson also owns a flat at Hampton Wick and yesterday she made herself at home on the roads of Tyneside, breaking clear with a mile remaining to win in 1hr 7min 55sec, finishing 32 seconds ahead of Kenya's Edith Masai.
Johnson was never a threat to Paula Radcliffe's year-old women's record, a phenomenal 1hr 5min 40sec, but with her victory over a world-class field, the 25-year-old took a significant step forward from the wreckage of her own broken Olympic dream - something that Radcliffe has yet to do.
Unlike the leading lady of British distance running, Johnson managed to finish the 10,000 metres final in Athens, placing 24th. That, however, was scant consolation, after starting the track season with high medal hopes in the wake of her victory in the long-course race at the World Cross Country Championships in Brussels in March.
"It was tough getting lapped by the leaders," Johnson reflected, "but I'm not the sort of athlete who gives up. I had blood tests the next day and they discovered that I was suffering from anaemia."
An autumn marathon debut, possibly in New York in November, is now on the agenda for the former Australian junior hockey international, before she returns to Melbourne for the winter. For Jon Brown, a good rest is probably in order, the Yorkshireman having followed his excellent fourth place in the Olympic marathon last month with sixth position in the men's race yesterday, despite losing ground while having to make "a pit stop" at the 10-mile mark.
Berhanu, fifth in the Olympic 5,000m final in Athens, was a clear winner in 59min 37 sec, 21 seconds inside the course record set by Kenyan Paul Kosgei two years ago. Farther down the field, the former 5,000m world record holder Sir Chris Chataway completed his first half-marathon in a time of 1hr 39 min - not bad for a 73-year-old member of Thames Hare and Hounds.
Auction house to give away $1m masterpiece in charity raffle - and tickets are only $100 each
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
Harvey Weinstein reveals his secret weapon on-set
Now that an oil trader's drinking has got him sacked, will we all have to make do with an afternoon latte?
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
Latest in Sport
Tottenham to use controversial blood-spinning technique to speed Jan Vertonghen return
World Cup 2014: Football Manager developers predict the team of the tournament - but which England player makes it into the XI?
Roy Keane omits Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs from 'greatest' Manchester United team
Transfer news: Wayne Rooney sparks Manchester United exit rumours after rejecting new contract talks - reports
Champions League last 16 draw 2013: Who could Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United meet?
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ sign language interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 Mystery of Epping Forest 'big cat' is solved
- 3 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 4 Australia: Gay marriage law reversed by high court less than a week after first weddings
- 5 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
£25000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: VB.NET SQL Developer/...
£45000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: Senior Automation QA ...
£80000 - £100000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading fin...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Regulatory Man...