Leonard Komon was branded ‘crazy’ by his own coach, despite turning in a dominant display to claim victory in the 2011 Bupa Great South Run.
The Kenyan clocked a winning time of 46min 18 sec – way down on Joseph Ebuya’s winning time from last year of 45.16 – after running out of gas over the final third of the race.
Komon made a fearsome start, tearing off from the start line to open up a 20-metre gap within half a mile and blazing away to clock a rapid 4.12 opening mile.
That lead stretched out to around 100 metres as the race wore on, and his winning margin over another Kenyan, Abel Kirui, was a comfortable 22 seconds.
Irishman Alistair Cragg produced a solid run to come home in third spot in 47.14, while Chris Thompson took fourth position, securing the English 10-mile crown in 48.07.
But the winner was never seriously in doubt beyond the opening stages, although Komon’s Italian coach Renato Canova was critical of the winning time.
He said: ‘When Leonard started like that, it was crazy.
‘We were hoping to see a time around 44.40 but he started too fast and when he saw the record was not possible, he lost some motivation.
‘But there was too much wind for a record.
‘It was very difficult for the last part of the race.
‘The wind added at least one minute to the time – maybe one-and-a-half minutes.’
While his tactics may have been questionable in attempting to register a new course record, anyone looking for an example of how to dominate a race had to look no further than the young Kenyan.
His rivals simply had no answer to his opening burst.
Kirui did his best to hang on and closed the gap as the race wore on.
Meanwhile, Thompson attempted to stay with the leaders – only to pay for his early pace later – as the rest of the field watched helplessly as Komon disappeared over the horizon.
And the new champion himself felt that the conditions had ruined his chances of recording a faster time.
Komon said: ‘I really enjoyed it and I was happy to win but there was a lot of wind and the weather was not very helpful.
‘It was very tough for the last 5km.
‘I started fast but I don’t think it was too fast.
‘The first 10km went very well for me but that final 5km was just too tough.
‘I expected to run alone. I don’t see any problem with that.
‘In tough conditions, though, sometimes you need other people there with you.
‘But the crowd were so nice to me and gave me a lot of support. I enjoyed it so much.’