Jones sets Welsh record on venture into elite company
CARYL Jones gave further evidence of her emergence as an athlete of high quality with a superb effort in the Great North Run.
The Swansea Harrier, who has burst onto the scene this season, finished eighth in the 13.1 mile race, in doing so becoming the fastest ever Welsh half-marathon runner.
She was the third Briton home.
Jones, who has set a number of Welsh records this season, faced the toughest challenge of her career, with some of the finest distance athletes in the world in opposition.
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That was highlighted by the three women to occupy the podium spots.
Ethiopia's Olympic 10,000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba won the women's race on her half marathon debut ahead of world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat and 2012 Olympic marathon champion Tiki Gelana.
Jones was up with the pace for the first three miles.
The tough pace set by the Africans eventually began to tell on the field, but Jones battled on to finish in a time of 71 minutes and 18 seconds.
Jo Pavey, who finished in seventh place in both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at this summer's Olympic Games, was the first Briton home in fifth place.
"I was fairly pleased," Pavey said. "I wished I could have stayed up with those top few but at one point they got away. I kept going and I would have liked to have been up with them but it wasn't a bad time.
"I really enjoyed this year being back on the track.
"Having the opportunity in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres in the Olympic stadium was awesome.
"There was a really tough field. There were two Olympic champions and a world champion so it was always going to be hard but it wasn't too bad a time.
"I look forward now to trying to do a marathon in the autumn and this has really excited me to get back on the roads again. I enjoyed it out there. Although it's tough it's such an amazing event."
Dibaba, who won with a time of 67 minutes 35 seconds, hailed rival Kiplagat who she beat in a sprint to the line.
"Edna is a very good runner," Dibaba said.
"She has experience on the roads and I knew I was going to get a good challenge there. It is my first experience of running a road race but still it was a good competition."