The organisers put together a sensational line up for the 2013 Bupa Great North Run, and they delivered on all accounts.
The outcome might not have reflected what people anticipated, but both races produced incredible results.
The Tirunesh Dibaba verses Meseret Defar clash had been eagerly awaited for weeks, but it was Priscah Jeptoo that ran away with victory.
The elite men’s line up was one of the best the event has ever seen: Mo Farah versus Kenenisa Bekele, versus distant running great Haile Gebrselassie.
Bekele was somewhat of an unknown quantity going into the race, but the Ethiopian came back from a mid race slump to snatch the race from a fast finishing Farah.
The women’s race was first to set off, and as expected, the field was soon whittled down to Dibaba, Defar and Jeptoo.
The three went through 10km in 32.26 minutes, over one minute slower than Dibaba originally set out for.
Jeptoo had a quiet race up to the eight mile mark, but with an evident surge in pace, the Kenyan took to the front for the first time, and Dibaba was soon left a few metres adrift.
By nine miles, the favourite, Dibaba, was out of the race, leaving Defar to fly the Ethiopian flag against Jeptoo.
Defar hung on for as long as she could, but the Kenyan 2013 London Marathon winner continued to pile on the pressure, and by 50 minutes both Ethiopian’s were left behind.
Jeptoo made her move at the right time, and her persistence to push on gave her a commanding lead for her last quarter of an hour of running.
In harsh conditions, the Kenyan pushed to the finishing line in a world leading time of 65.45 minutes, just five seconds off Paula Radcliffe’s course record.
The men’s line up had people impatiently awaiting the result for a long time, and it certainly did not disappoint.
Farah, Gebrselassie and Bekele gravitated towards the front as predicted, but Bekele, the only one to have never attempted this distance before, made a surprise early surge to take the lead.
Farah and Gebrselassie soon reeled him in though, and the elder Ethiopian took over the reigns.
By the 10km point, Bekele came under a bit of pressure, and a few strides soon turned into a 25 metre gap.
The 31-year-old looked to be out of the race, but after a few well composed miles, he rejoined his two competitors.
Farah lost a few metres as the three hurled down the decline towards the final stages, and Bekele opened up what turned out to be his winning gap.
Gebrselassie was dropped at 12 miles, as Farah tried desperately to close in on Bekele’s five second lead.
The Briton fought hard through blistering conditions, and made an unbelievable come back in the final 400 metres.
With the momentum and crowd behind him, Farah looked as though he might have caught Bekele, but the Ethiopian managed to just hang on in one of the greatest Great North Run finishes of all time.
In the end, just one second separated first and second, with Bekele’s winning time 1.00.9.
With his third place finish, Gebrselassie set an over 40’s world best for the half marathon, with his 1.00.41 clocking.
In the men’s wheelchair event, David Weir cruised to his fourth Great North Run win after his main rival Josh Cassidy was severely held back due to mechanical problems.
Weir finished over two minutes ahead of Cassidy, with his winning time of 43.06 minutes.
Shelly Woods made it two Great Britain victories in the women’s race, after she dismantles her opponents for a convincing win. Woods won her race in 54.28 minutes.