Something tells me that we will soon see Paula Radcliffe’s nine year marathon World Record broken. After watching Tirunesh Dibaba’s debut road and half marathon race at the Great North Run on Sunday it is hard to believe otherwise. After dominating 5000m and 10,000m on the track and winning a Junior World Cross Country title and four senior World Cross Country titles on both the long and short course it seems that Dibaba is now intent on storming onto the road running scene!
The Baby Face Destroyer, as she is otherwise known, did exactly that – she destroyed the field of elite Women. From the start she looked calm, collected and confident, just like she does on the track. If it wasn’t clear before that she was born to run then this performance should certainly wipe away any doubts!
She ran in the shadow of the pack for the first 12.5 miles choosing to hit the front, and with ease, at around 12.5 miles. She seemed to glide past the reigning World marathon Champion Edna Kiplagat and the reigning Olympic marathon champion (and Olympic record holder) Tiki Gelana and there could have been no doubt in anybody’s mind that the win was all but hers. Even with a kick that came too early, around 850m from the finish, Dibaba remained cool. She noticed her mistake within around 100m and slowed, which allowed Kiplagat to catch up and sit on her shoulder momentarily.
I have to admit, at this point I was worried that the distance was going to show in Dibaba’s legs and that she may fade into third with Gelana closing ground. How wrong I was when with 400m to go Tirunesh looked over her right shoulder, into Kiplagat’s grimacing face and seemed to smile. With a gracious stride and with the utmost ease she pulled away by five metres, then ten and then the race was pretty much secured! Just to make sure, Dibaba increased the pace further with 200m to go and crossed the line in 1:07:32 looking like she could keep on running if she was called upon to do so!running a marathon maybe next year.” I think we can all discount the maybe in that sentence and I think we are all looking forward to that debut wherever and whenever it may be!