Andrew Lemoncello slipped to the narrowest of defeats in the Bupa Great Edinburgh Run yesterday but insisted it remains full steam ahead towards his first marathon in almost two years.
The Scot, who missed the Olympics because of injury, was pipped in the 10-kilometre event by fellow Great Britain internationalist Tom Humphries in a sprint finish in Holyrood Park, with Derek Hawkins third.
After less than 48 hours in his homeland, Lemoncello now will jet back to his base in Arizona today to step up his preparations for his long-distance comeback in California in early December. However, he concedes the after-effects of a six-month spell on the sidelines are still lingering.
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"I've always I had a good sprint finish, but when we turned the final corner, my legs turned to brick," he said. "I've never had that before but I'm happy with that run."
Humphries is also rebounding from misfortunes, having had his own Olympic ambitions derailed by illness.
"I'd 50 days off this summer because of pneumonia and that broke me," he revealed. "But I'm coming back really strong, I feel in good shape."
Stockport's Jess Coulson beat local favourite Freya Ross (nee Murray) in the women's race, pulling away in the latter stages to win by 36 seconds.
"I'm disappointed not to win," the newly-wed Scot said. "But I gave it my best shot. It's been a pretty busy week with the wedding, so it was either going to work out or not. It didn't, but I'm glad I did it."
Elspeth Curran, of Kilbarchan, finished third.
n Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede slashed almost a minute off the course record to win the Chicago Marathon yesterday.
Kebede stormed to victory in an unofficial time of 2hr 04.38sec to shatter the previous record of 2:05.39, set by Kenya's Moses Mosop last year.
The first three men across the line all went under the old mark and all were from Ethiopia. Feyisa Lilesa was second in 2:04.52 while Tilahun Regassa was third in 2:05.27.
Atsede Baysa completed an Ethiopian double by winning the women's race in a thrilling sprint finish with Kenya's Rita Jeptoo in 2:22.03, one second ahead of Jeptoo.