Millions of running fans across the UK enjoyed a breakfast treat this morning with BBC2's excellent coverage of the 2012 Great Manchester Run, led by Steve Cram and Jonathan Edwards. The broadcasters were fortunate though that international superstar Haile Gebrselassie turned up, turned back the clock and produced an imperious performance to sweep aside a high class field and record a fifth Bupa Great Manchester Run success. Linet Masai was equally dominant in the women's race to score a bloodless victory.
Today's event was about more than the world top athletes though with 40,000 entrants packing the streets of a colourful Manchester city centre before leaving in waves to complete a run out to Salford Quays and back. After the deluge that spoiled the city's recent marathon, conditions were dry if overcast with a slight breeze.
In the main event Gebrselassie was in front from the start and reached halfway in 13:31 where he took a decisive lead which he held until the finish. The 39 year old man they call the Emperor, clocked 27 minutes and 29 seconds to beat compatriots Tsegae Kebede and Ayele Abshero.
British runners Charlotte Purdue, Mara Yamauchi and Gemma Steel were prominent in the early part of the women's race but Linet Masai breezed to the front at half way and dominated from there to win in 31:35 from Nadia Ejjafini (Italy) 31:50; and Doris Changeywo (Kenya) 32.02. Britain's Charlotte Purdoe was fourth.
The huge field for this year's Great Manchester Run included assorted celebrities including a team from TV soap Emmerdale who crossed the Pennines to raise funds for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.