VIVIAN CHERUIYOT served up a distance masterclass as she powered to the Morrisons Great South Run title.
The world champion saw off the domestic challenge of Jo Pavey and Gemma Steel to take the 2015 crown at Europe’s biggest 10 miler yesterday.
The help I was given by the supporters made a big difference.Vivian Cheruiyot
They had no answer to Cheruiyot’s class as the Beijing 10,000m gold medallist romped to the most emphatic of victories.
It looked as if Sonia O’Sullivan’s long-standing course record – set in 2002 – was under threat as the 32-year-old left her rivals in her wake.
But Cheruiyot eventually finished 17 seconds outside of that mark as she cruised home in 51min 17sec.
That was a massive 1min 27sec in front of Jo Pavey who clocked a satisfying time of 52.44.
Cheruiyot’s compatriot Doris Changeiywo was third (52.51) with Gemma Steel (53.06) splitting her and another Kenyan in Betsy Saina (53.49).
Her pre-race promise to take the title was matched by her performance as Cheruiyot impressed from the outset.
The four-time world champion formed part of an eight-strong pack early on with Pavey leading as they went through the first mile in 5.17.
It was Cheruiyot who was sat at the front of the group as the race went into the Historic Dockyard and through two miles in 10.32, however.
Pavey and Steel were five seconds off the lead after the third mile before the Kenyan really turned up the heat.
An eight second advantage became a 25 second lead by the half-way point with Cheruiyot going through 10km in 32.01.
A charge at the course best appeared on the cards in the calm conditions with the leader over a minute in front of Pavey after seven miles and going past the eight-mile mark in 41.10.
Even the notorious wind which greets runners for the final two miles of the race had relented this year.
But with Cheruiyot unable to get sight of her time on the lead vehicle she was unaware a new record was on the cards.
She wasn’t too disappointed about that, however.
And she paid tribute to the backing she was given around the streets of Portsmouth and Southsea.
Cheruiyot said: ‘It sounds very nice to me to be the champion of the Great South Run.
‘I was coming here to try my best and give my best.
‘The help I was given by the supporters made a big difference.
‘I didn’t know I was close to the course record because after eight miles the car with the time was too far away.
‘If the car was nearer I would have known and been able to adjust my time.
‘The car was too far away over the last two miles so I didn’t know the time.
‘I thought the distance may have been too long for me but I really enjoyed it.’
Cheruiyot’s first visit to Portsmouth proved a pleasing one as she departs with the Great South Run title.
The Olympic silver and bronze medallist confirmed she is planning to return to defend it next year.
She said: ‘Yes, I would love come back. I enjoyed the race a lot and would like to do it again.’