by Brendan Cole
Kenenisa Bekele has won the men’s 10km in spectacular fashion at the Spar Great Ireland Run event in the Phoenix Park.
The Ethiopian stretched the field from the beginning, running the first 3km in 8 minutes and 21 seconds.
Running in a fluid and relaxed style he continued to eat up the ground over the hilly Phoenix Park course, putting huge distance between himself and closest challenger Ayad Lambassem of Spain.
Clearly in the mood to make a statement with the athletics world gearing up for the Olympic games in London, he went to smash Craig Mottram’s course record of 28:35, finishing in a stunning 27:49.
Lambassem finished a clear second, albeit over a minute behind in 28.48 with Daniele Meucci of Italy third. Spanish marathon runner José Manuel Martínez and English runner Nick McCormack were fourth and fifth respectively.
Ireland's Mark Kenneally, who has qualified for the London 2012 Olympics, finished 7th to take the Irish 10km title.
Bekele will bid for a third Olympic 10km title at the Olympic games and his victory today will serve as a notice to fellow competitors that his moderate form of recent months has been firmly put behind him.
The 29-year-old confirmed to RTÉ Sport that he intends to run in the 3km at the first Diamond League race in Doha next month.
Earlier, Gemma Steel reversed places with last year’s winner Charlotte Purdue to take victory in the women's event.
The English pair drew clear of countrywoman Helen Clitheroe and Christelle Daunay of France in the final quarter of the race before Steel made the decisive move with around a kilometre to go.
Purdue, who has been hampered by a mid-season injury, was unable to respond and Steel stayed ahead to win in a fast time of 32:04, just shy of the course record 31:41.
Marathon runner Daunay took third while Dublin Marathon winner Linda Byrne became the Irish 10km champion, finishing sixth in 33:50.
11,000 runners in total took part in the biggest Great Ireland Run ever in perfect conditions for at the Phoenix Park.