While Team GB were unable to topple Germany or Russia at the European Team Championships in Gateshead this weekend, the Great North 10K celebrated two domestic victories in the shape of Ryan McLeod and Gemma Steel. McLeod produced a stirring finale to cross the line before pre-race favourite Yared Hagos.
The Elswick Harrier, who is now based in the east Midlands, brought out a massive roar from the capacity crowd by emulating Mo Farah's winning salute with his very own 'Geordie Mobot.' McLeod, who had been competing in the 3,000m at the St. Mary's Ivy League Meeting on Thursday, finished in 30:28 -- just four seconds ahead of Wallsend Harriers' Hagos. Paul Pollock of Kent AC rounded off the podium positions in 30:37.
Son of former Olympic 10,000 silver medallist Mike McLeod, Ryan revealed that his father gave him some tactical advice just before the race: "He told me to just follow the pace so really I just took a ride and tucked in all the way behind Hagos. Mind you I ignored his advice when we came on to the track and made a break with 300m left. My dad told me I should have left it until closer to the line."
Gemma Steel continued her impressive form this year by successfully defending her title in the women's field. The Charnwood star had Sunderland Strollers' Aly Dixon in close attendance for the majority of the race, but pulled ahead at the end to finish in 33:26, with Dixon securing second place in a time of 33:43.
On her battle with Dixon, Steel later commented: "I led all of the way into the wind while Aly particularly in the first mile didn't make it easy snapping at my heels. I broke away from her at 6km but she made me fight really hard." Steel's victory will further cement her position as the likely successor to Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi as Britain's top female distance runner.
Sunday's race marked the fifth staging of the Great North 10K and saw almost 3,000 runners complete the course despite damp conditions. The route takes in some of the city's most iconic landmarks including The Sage Gateshead, Gateshead Millennium Bridge and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. The event marked an eventful day for athletics in the north east, with the 10k preceding the finale of the European Athletics Team Championships at the Gateshead International Stadium.