Great South Run Results: Women13th October 2003:
High winds blowing relentlessly off the Solent ruined any hopes spectators would again see Sonia O'Sullivan break the World 10 miles record in Sunday's BUPA Great South Run.
The conditions restricted O'Sullivan to victory in 53 minutes 26 seconds - still a commendable time as the swirling gusts troubled all 12,500 participants, whatever their pedigree.
With O'Sullivan returning and planning to better the time of 51 minutes dead she set in 2002, hopes were high that she could pull-off a world record again over the fast Portsmouth course. The incentive was there for O'Sullivan. A fortnight after her marvellous victory last year, Kenya's Lornah Kiplagat lowered it by six seconds in The Netherlands.
Indeed the Olympic 5000m silver-medallist hinted strongly before the race she was in the right condition to regain the title - providing weather conditions were helpful. "How things change in 24 hours," said O'Sullivan as the perfect conditions of Saturday evaporated into an extremely unhelpful start to Sunday morning in Portsmouth."Still, winning in a big race is the most important thing," said O'Sullivan who was never approached by a woman rival, after blazing away with the world class men entrants from just over the first mile.
"There was no way any records were going to be broken in this weather," said O'Sullivan who by the finishing line had a very comfortable 62 seconds winning margin ahead of Charlotte Dale. "Didn't she run brilliantly," said O'Sullivan of her teenage rival, who despite her small frame clinched second place ahead of 2002 runner-up, Natalie Harvey of Australia by 55 seconds. "Charlotte's so small, I'm surprised she wasn't just blown over," added O'Sullivan, who has been lending the European junior cross country champion from Kent lots of advice at their weekly training sessions.
Certainly Dale appears to be a quick learner. Showing no ill-effects of her windy battering, she said: "I really enjoyed the race. It was my first ten-miler and I want to do more.”
Finishing 31st overall in the mixed field and two positions ahead of Liz McColgan in the women's results, Dale 19, said: "I had an upset stomach before the race but once I got started it went away and I really enjoyed it."
Results - BUPA Great South Run, 10 Miles, Portsmouth
S O'Sullivan (Ireland) 53:26, 2, C Dale (Invicta East Kent) 54:28, 3, N Harvey (Australia) 55:43, 4, L McColgan (Leukaemia Research) 56:12, 5, A Green (Dartford) 56:13, 6, D Sullivan (Havering) 56:12, 7, M McCallum (Winchester & District AC) 56:20, 8, K Bailey (Havant AC) 56:48, 9, A Granger (Bristol) 58:57, 10, S Dixon (Bristol) 59:22.
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