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Gebrselassie wins down under
Ethiopian legend wins Great Australian Run and sets sights on Dubai marathon.
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2008 16:16 GMT

Haile Gebrselassie crosses the finishing line [EPA]
Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie won the inaugural 15-kilometre Great Australian Run in 42 minutes, 40 seconds.

Beijing Olympic marathon silver medalist and former world champion Catherine Ndereba of Kenya won the women's race in 50:43.

New Zealand's Alice Mason was second in 51:27 and Australian Lisa-Jane Weightman third in 51:31.

Beijing Olympic marathon champion Constantina Dita of Romania was sixth in
a time of 52:33.

Dubai bound

Gebrselassie, who has struggled with jetlag since arriving in Melbourne from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Friday, broke clear of Kenyan Patrick Makau with four kilometres to go.

Makau was second in 43:15, while Collis Birmingham overtook fellow Australian Craig Mottram in the closing stages to claim third place in 43:35.

Mottram was fourth in 44:08 in the road race held in Melbourne's southern suburbs along with 4,000 recreational runners.

"After 11 Ks (kilometres) I decided to stop (Makau) there, otherwise it was just too dangerous if I brought him up to the last kilometre," said the 35-year-old Gebrselassie.

"I expected to run a good time but when I woke up this morning I didn't feel so good because of the lack of sleep.

"I should have come five or six days ago but I made a mistake because I only arrived on Friday morning."

It was Gebrselassie's first race in Australia since his dramatic victory over Kenyan Paul Tergat in the Sydney Olympic 10,000 metres in 2000.

Gebrselassie's next race is the Dubai marathon in January, where he hopes to challenge his own world record of 2:03:59.

Gebrselassie became the first man to run under 2 hours, four minutes for the marathon with that time in Berlin in September.

Ndereba had finished second behind Dita in Beijing, but the Kenyan always looked the likely winner in Sunday's race.

"I was trying to just keep my pace," she said.

"It's four weeks since I ran my last marathon and I was looking to press myself."

Source:
Agencies
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