Kenenisa Bekele wins 2012 SPAR Great Ireland Run 10km (© organisers)
Kenenisa Bekele clocking the fastest 10 kilometres time in the world so far this year blew away Europe's top distance runners to win the SPAR Great Ireland Run by a huge margin in Dublin on Sunday (15).
The SPAR Great Ireland Run is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
Bekele who has struggled with injuries over the last two years and after a lowly 11th finish at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country in January, today over a tough course in Phoenix Park answered any question that his career was in decline.
With a whirlwind performance he flew to the first sub 28 minutes performance ever witnessed on Irish soil in a time of 27:49.
The awesome display by the 29-year-old Ethiopian saw him finish almost a minute ahead of Ayad Lamdassam of Spain who clocked 28:48 with Italy's Daniele Meucci hot on the heels of runners-up spot only a second behind.
Bekele whose last visit to Ireland 10 years ago saw him score an IAAF World Cross Country long and short course double, brushed away his rivals with a devastating display of front running which crushed their ambitions after only three kilometres.
At that point Lamdassem, strongly tipped to cause an upset and Meucci the 2010 European 10,000 metres bronze medallist, seriously tried to test the reigning Olympic 5000m and 10,000m gold medallist's supposed vulnerability, but he promptly blew away their challenges.
Bekele although not an experienced road runner, immediately placed his foot firmly on the accelerator to quickly open a 100 metres gap which he continued to extend almost stride-by-stride over the testing course which has a three kilometres uphill finishing stretch in Phoenix Park.
"I wasn't nervous about coming here to run and I don't have anything to prove about my condition," said a very slim looking Bekele who had been almost four kilos overweight when competing at the Edinburgh Cross Country.
Bekele playing down the quality of his world leading run which bettered the 27:50 mark Kenya's Philip Yego set in Brunssum, Holland, a fortnight earlier, added: "If there had been a pacemaker I would have been much quicker.”
"How could I be expected to run a fast time? I had plenty of strength left in me. But the good news is that all of my training which has been based towards to the track season, has shown to be successful here also."
Bekele who has yet to decide whether to defend both his Olympic crowns at the London Games in August stressed he did not think his win would send out a serious warning about his shape and form to any his rivals.
"This is not meant to be a message to any of my Olympic opponents. We cannot start talking like this until we all meet on the track in the summer," insisted Bekele who will open his pre-Olympic campaign at the Samsung Diamond League meet in Doha on 11 May.
The women's race was a much more evenly contested competition where Gemma Steel reversed her defeat at the hands of fellow Briton Charlotte Purdue a year ago, when pulling away in the final kilometre.
Steel, one of the most improved British woman runner in 2011 having taken the scalps of the country's top stars including World marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe and Jo Pavey, claimed victory today in 32:06.
The strength of the European Cross Country bronze medallist pulled her to a personal best as she denied 20-year-old Purdue (four feet, 11 inches tall) - who also ran a lifetime fastest - a repeat win by four seconds.
Cristelle Daunay of France finished third in 32:27.
"I had hoped I would do this, I finally shrugged her off. Charlotte just doesn't give in," said Steel who along with fourth finisher Helen Clitheroe (33:02) has just returned from a warm weather training camp in Portugal.
"I've now finished ahead of every Briton that matters but it's the first time that I've beaten her," she said of the narrow success.
"My spell in Portugal hasn't done me any harm," added the reigning English cross country title holder who on Monday will travel to Font Romeu in the French Pyrenees, again with Clitheroe, for a couple of weeks altitude training.
Purdue who has been troubled by a foot injury and without a serious race this year, said: "I miss racing and competition of this standard and although I won in Chichester in February the field wasn't that strong. Today was different and it's great to be back competing at this level."
Dave Martin for the IAAF
SPAR Great Ireland Run
1, K Bekele (Ethiopia) 27:49
2, A Lamsdassem (Spain) 28:48
3, D Meucci (Italy) 28:49
4, J-M Martinez (Spain) 29:00
5, N McCormick (GBR) 29:04
6, J Espana (Spain) 29:22
7, M Kenneally (Ireland) 29:23
8, S Stokes (GBR) 29:31
1, G Steel (GBR) 32:06
2, C Purdue (GBR) 32:10
3, C Daunay (France) 32:27
4, H Clitheroe (GBR) 33:02
5, R Console (Italy) 33:46
6, L Byrne (Ireland) 33:49
7, A Kalovics (Hungary) 34:09
8, M Esteban (Spain) 34:15