Kenenisa Bekele held off a late charge from Mo Farah to win a thrilling Great North Run today.

The Ethiopian, running his first competitive half marathon, made the break with a mile to go on the course across Newcastle and South Shields and looked to be heading for a comfortable win.

But the double Olympic and world champion began to chase down the leader over the last 400 metres and was on the heels of Bekele as the finishing line approached but was unable to find the extra speed needed to pass his opponent.

That left Bekele to cross the line first in an unofficial time of 60 minutes and eight seconds, with Farah just one second down.

Distance great Haile Gebrselassie was third.

Meanwhile, Irish Olympian Mark Kenneally finished in an impressive seventh place in a time of 64.06.

The Celbridge man expressed his satisfaction on Twitter following the race.