Athletics: O'Sullivan ready to take New York in her stride

Sonia O'Sullivan's year has not been as triumphant as that of her rival Paula Radcliffe, but, with two silver medals from the European Championships, it has been pretty damned good. Yesterday it got significantly better as she recaptured the BUPA Great North Run title with a performance that sets her up ideally for a first serious marathon attempt in New York next month.

The Irish woman fell just short of Radcliffe's course record, but her counterpart in the men's race, Paul Kosgei, registered the first sub-60 minute half-marathon run in this country as he sprinted clear of Tanzania's John Yuda over the final 400 metres to finish in 59 minutes 58 seconds, equal eighth-fastest in history.

With just over a mile of the 13.1-mile course remaining, O'Sullivan, a winner here four years earlier, was four seconds faster than Radcliffe had been in winning the 2000 race. But as she turned into the final mile along the seafront, a combination of wind and fatigue slowed her to a time of 67min 19sec, 12 seconds outside the British runner's mark.

But if it was a disappointment for a runner keen to reassert her pre-eminence after finishing a distant second to Radcliffe in this summer's European 10,000 metres final, it was only a minor one.

O'Sullivan's time was the eighth fastest officially run, almost three minutes inside her previous best of 70min 04sec. It means she will enter the New York marathon on 3 November with a confidence that will bode ill for her opponents.

"I shall be fairly relaxed in New York now,'' she grinned. "I want to go with the early pace and relax. I think the first half is going to be run in around 71 minutes, and then the real racing will begin.''

As Radcliffe had done two years earlier, O'Sullivan arrived at the finishing stretch with all opposition save the ticking clock long since dealt with. She had broken clear after four-and-a-half miles, shortly after the defending champion, Susan Chepkemei of Kenya, had dropped out of the race clutching her foot.

Asked afterwards if she was surprised not to have faced a more apparent challenge from a field which also included Ethiopia's world half-marathon champion Berhane Adere and Olympic 10,000m champion Derartu Tulu, O'Sullivan grinned again. "The way I ran I made it like that,'' she said. "It's a little bit of a risk to take when you push hard from the start. Once I got to five miles I knew that was the highest point of the course, and the aim was to run hard for the next three miles.''

Susie Power, Australia's Commonwealth marathon bronze medallist, finished 37 seconds behind O'Sullivan, with Kenya's former London marathon winner Joyce Chepchumba third in 68min 34sec.

The result contributed to the notion that having children is beneficial for women endurance runners – all three medallists are mothers.

"I suppose in some ways it gives you a second lease of life when you have children,'' said the 32-year-old winner whose two girls, four-year-old Ciara and Sophie, born last December, were both with her yesterday.

"When you are a junior you want to be the best in the world and you train so hard to get there," O'Sullivan said. "But then what do you do next? If you have children you take time out, and then you want to get back and do better than before.''

O'Sullivan's performance bettered Catherina McKiernan's Irish record of 67min 50sec and means she now holds every national mark from 800m through to the half marathon. "I'm nearly there,'' she said. "Just one more to collect.''

Kosgei and Yuda ran side by side for the final 10 miles before the former, who had beaten his rival in winning the world half marathon title in Brussels earlier in the year, broke clear with the finish in sight, cheered on by the spectators whose sunny autumn outing ended with a display from the Red Arrows.

"I was surprised how much noise the crowd made,'' Kosgei said. Let's hope he was prepared for the arrival of the Red Arrows over the horizon.

* Ernest Kipyego won the Cologne Marathon on Sunday, setting a new record for the event of 2hr 10min 53sec. The Kenyan, who was not among the favourites, finished 40 seconds ahead of the Tanzanian Andrew Sambu. Kipyego broke the event record, set by the German Carsten Eich, by two seconds.

The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SSRS Report Developer - Urgent Contract - London - £300pd

£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...

KS1 Teacher

£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

HR Business Partner - Essex - £39,000 plus benefits

£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?