The Bupa Great Birmingham Run welcomed a surprising hero on Sunday as Joel Kimutai finished ahead of pre-race favourites Emmanuel Bett and Thomas Ayeko to take victory. Over 15,000 runners were faced with testing conditions as the Midlands event celebrated its 7th year.
Oldbury triathlete and double gold medalist Jodie Stimpson, alongside cricketer Ian Bell, acted as official starters for the race before joining in the field. The course took in some of the city's most iconic sights including the Bullring, the Cadbury's factory in Bournville and Edgbaston cricket ground.
Kenyan Kimutai, who had never recorded a significant victory in his career, set a PB of 1:01:39, with Emmanuel Bett second (1:02:33) and Elroy Gelant third (1:03:17). Defending champion Ayeko finished fifth in 1:03:27, with GB marathoner Steve Way, preparing for the World 100K championships in Doha, tenth in 1:10:19.
Speaking after his victory, Kimutai said: “I have only been training for five years and this was my first time racing Emmanuel and Josphat Bett. The course is good, but there was a very strong wind, I prepared very well for the race and it is my first ever victory and a personal best."
The Kenyans dominated in the female field too, with Run Fast’s Polline Wanjiku taking top place in 1:10:48, followed by Doris Changeiuwo in 1:11:29 and Linet Masai in 1:11:45. Wanjiku said she was content with her time in testing conditions: “I’m happy even though there was a lot of wind and if I came here again, I think I’d do even better. I’ve run 70 because of the wind, but I’m happy to win.”
After the race, organisers Nova International announced they will stage a 10k event in the city on Sunday 3 May 2015. Entries for the new event are now open, and prospective participants can take advantage of a £10 discount if they sign up for both the 10k and Great Birmingham Run.
Communications director at Nova, David Hart said: “The continued enthusiasm and support for the Bupa Great Birmingham Run shows that Birmingham is fast becoming one of Europe’s leading running cities. We hope that the introduction of a 10k distance in May will encourage even more people to take on an active challenge.”
More information is available here.