Four-time Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah became the first man to win the Great North Run three times in a row.
And he used the same tactics that Kenensia Bekele adopted to defeat him in 2013 after the Ethiopian surprised him with a burst of speed down the steep incline onto the seafront, with just over one mile to go.
I just want to go home now and see the kids.
It was here that Farah made his move, pulling away from American Dathan Ritzenhein and going away in the last mile in his first race since Rio.
“Dathan made it a hard race for me. I was hanging on for my life. He ran a great race,” said Farah, who clocked his slowest time of his three wins with 60:04 to beat Ritzenhein by eight seconds.
“Dathan is a former training mate of mine and he put his foot down and was trying all he knew to get rid of me as he knew I had a faster finish.”
He added: “I find the track much easier, as I only feel the pain in the last one or two laps. On the roads, it’s painful from much earlier on. I received amazing support from the crowds and that helped me to deal with the pain.
“It is good to finish the year on a high. I just want to go home now and see the kids.”
Ritzenhein said: “I’m very happy with my performance. I was trying to break Mo, but I just ran out of gas and didn’t have the gears to stay with him.”
Farah was also delighted to see his wife make her debut in the run and she recorded an impressive 1hr 49min.
In third place, Emmanuel Bett of Kenya clocked 61:22 as Bashir Abdi of Belgium finished fourth ( 62:03), Duncan Maiyo of Kenya was fifth in 62:03 and Abdi Abdirahman of the United States was sixth in 62:46.
Chris Thompson was the top Briton behind Farah in seventh with 63:35, followed by Ben Connor (64:13), and Scott Overall (64:39), while Great North Run stalwart Ian Hudspith ran 66:52 in 15th aged 45.The Morpeth Harrier was chasing the British over-45 record of 65.40 set in the 1986 Great North Run by Saltwell Harriers Bill Venus. Dominic Shaw (New Marske} was one place behind Hudspith in 67.15.
Sunderland Harriers had over 40 athletes involved and first home was Sparrow Morley in 70th (1.15.0).
The runners that beat one hour 40 minutes mark were: Michael Thompson V45 (1.17.09), Paul Blakey V40 (1.21.51), Michael Heskett (1.23.36), Andy Powell (1.24.07), Steven Duffy (1.24.07), Steve McMahon (1,24.07), Carl Harriman (1.25.31), Michael Edwards (1.26.07), Paul Redman (1.28.23), Alan Hodgson (1.28, 44), Steve Gordon (1.31.17), Shaun Bagley (1.31.44), Peter Shaw (1.32.02), Chris Bell (1.32.32), Ian Ritchie (1.35.06), Alan Knebel (1.35.49), Simon Park (1.36.19), and Dean Phillips (1.36.39).
Len Christopher, approaching his 70th birthday, clocked 1.48.32 and Eddie Maddison, 68, maintained his ever present record by competing in every GNR, despite a hip injury, in his slowest time yet (2.00.57).
Sunderland Strollers who beat 1hr 40min were: Paul Taylor (1.30.15), Christopher Scott (1.31.32), Michael Dixon (1.31.32), Carl Smith (1.32.11), John Sayer (1.32.47), Luke McCormack (1.33/07), Christopher Rawle (1.34.06), Kevin O’Neil (1.34.16), Rob Ayre (1.37.18) and Gary MacDonald (1.38.30).
In the women’s race, Olympic 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya made a successful transition to the roads to win her first half marathon.
The race was billed as a clash between middle distance great Cheruiyot and three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba.
But it was Dibaba who was the first to drop off the pace in the closing stages with Cheruiyot and fellow Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo, left to fight out the battle for gold along the coast road to the finish.
And it was the more fancied Cheruiyot who took the win, producing a sprint to get the better of Jeptoo by just one second to clock 1.07.54. Dibaba finished third.
Cheruiyot, who has now back tracked on her statement she is to retire from the track to concentrate on the roads, said: “I’m so happy because it’s my birthday. I found it tough with one kilometre to go but it’s great for me to end my season in this way.
“My future is road racing now. I will probably do the marathon next year. But I’m still going to run the 10,000m,”
Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon, clearly not yet fully recovered from her Olympic marathon performance in Rio, briefly showed in the leading group over the Tyne Bridge, but she was dropped before Gateshead Stadium in what was a slow pace for the first two miles.
She eventually finished 12th (76.31) in a time well outside her best.
Charlotte Purdue, overlooked for the Olympic marathon was the first Briton to finish in fifth (72.13) and Gemma Steel was eighth (73.23).
Sunderland Harrier Alice Smith ran a well-judged race to clock 1.27.51, while Rachel Moore clocked a personal best of 1.36.16.
Michelle Avery, running from the elite women’s start, struggled with injury to finish in 1.40.10.
Scotland’s Mark Telford took the men’s wheelchair crown, a second ahead of fellow Briton Bret Crossley.
In the Great North 5k on Saturday, Sunderland Harrier Steve Rankin finished sixth (16.38) in the race won by Morpeth Harrier Sam Hancox (15.29).
In the Junior Great North Run, Sunderland Harriers, in the various categories, had Connor Price fourth, Eve Quinn fourth, Luke Bell seventh and Sean Mackie 11th. Houghton Harriers had Nicola Phillips fifth and Anna Pigford 10th