Mo Farah hopes for Great North Run glory


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The Independent Online

The last British winner of the men's race in the Great North Run, the world's biggest half marathon, was a Kenyon.

It was back in June 1985, a week before the Live Aid concert at Wembley, that Steve Kenyon, a ceramic tile salesman from Bolton, emerged victorious on the 13.1 mile road from Newcastle to South Shields. It has been a running joke that has pained British distance running for 29 years, but today Mo Farah is poised to finally strike a blow for home pride.

It is certain to be a landmark occasion in at least one respect. The Tyneside race, launched in 1981 by former 3,000m world record holder Brendan Foster, will be the first in the world to have a million finishers when someone towards the back of the 57,000 field crosses the line.

Farah is aiming to make it a momentous occasion of his own, by following the Tynesider Mike McLeod and Kenyon as only the third British men's winner in the history of the race. "I thought Mo would do it last year but maybe he will this time," said Kenyon, now 62, who will be watching the race on television.

Twelve months ago Farah was beaten in a sprint finish by the Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele. This year the 31-year-old Briton starts the clear favourite, following his 5,000m-10,000m double at the European Championships in Zurich.

"It's a strong field," said Farah. "There's Stephen Kiprotich, the Olympic marathon champion from Uganda, and a lot of good Kenyans too. We'll just have to see how it goes."