Leonard Komon has joined a stellar list of men to catch for this weekend’s BUPA Great South Run.
The Kenyan world record holder over 10k and 15k will be looking to follow in the footsteps of countryman Joseph Ebuya – who stormed to victory in last year’s race in a UK all-comers record of 45min 16sec.
The 23-year-old Komon will go head to head with another talented Kenyan in Abel Kirui – who recently retained his IAAF World Championship marathon title – and Morocco’s Abderrahime Bouramdane, who finished fourth behind him in Daegu.
It’s a field that looks as strong as anything that has raced the Portsmouth course in recent years.
Peter Riley, elite athletes manager of the BUPA Great South Run, believes the young Kenyan is ready to show the Portsmouth public exactly what he can do.
And Riley insists if the conditions are right, Komon could well threaten Ebuya’s benchmark after a string of impressive performances.
Riley said: ‘In spite of his youth, Komon has been a leading distance runner for a few years.
‘Last year he became the first man to run under 27 minutes for 10k, which is phenomenal.
‘His time of 26min 44sec in Utrecht last September took a massive 17 seconds from the previous record.
‘And he’ll be coming to Portsmouth after another superb victory at the ASICS Grand 10k in Berlin.
‘More importantly, five weeks previous to that stunning victory, he missed Haile Gebrselassie’s world record 10-mile performance by just four seconds with a fantastic time of 44min 27sec in Zaandam.
‘Remarkably, he managed it in spite of rain and adverse weather conditions.
‘I’m sure with the quality of the opposition he faces in Portsmouth, there is every chance we will see a new UK all-comers record produced.’
Aside from a quality overseas field, there will also be genuine competition from the UK runners.
Chris Thompson, the 2010 European 10,000m silver medallist, Scott Overall – who was fifth in last month’s BMW Berlin Marathon – and the Scottish number one, Andrew Lemoncello, will all be eager to stake their own claims for success.
And if they are looking for a home example to follow, they need only venture back two years in the record books to Mo Farah’s victory in 46.25.
Farah announced himself as a genuine medal contender for next year’s London Olympics after winning gold in the 5,000m in the World Championship this summer.
And he counts his Great South Run victory as a key part in his progression from talented athlete to world-class star.
XXXX n Page 11