MO Farah made history once again yesterday when he won his fourth successive Great North Run title. The four-time Olympic champion overcame the challenge of Jake Robertson of New Zealand in the closing stages to finish in a timeof one hour and six seconds.

Farah is the first athlete to win the event four times in a row, and is now level in terms of most victories with Kenya’s Benson Masya, who was champion four times in the 1990s.

Farah, who last month finished his glittering track career with a thrilling 000m victory at the Diamond League final in Zurich, produced his trademark “Mobot” celebration in Newcastle as he crossed the line.

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Robertson was six seconds back in second place, with Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lilesa third.

Farah said after his season-concluding race: “That was really, really tough. I’m sore everywhere – I’ve never been this sore! Doing less training than I normally would was definitely telling.

“With four miles to go I was just hanging on, gritting my teeth. It was an amazing race. Jake pushed the pace on and tried to get rid of me and he almost did. I wasn’t going to tell him that, but he almost got rid of me with three miles to go because I was hurting.

“As we got closer, I managed to believe in myself and dig, and I was thinking ‘if I can just sit on [Robertson], at the end I can sprint’.

“It was a great race. I really enjoyed it I just had to dig deep. What a year I’ve had! It’s nice to finish it at home.

“I’m so pleased with how the season has gone. I’ll go on a little holiday with the missus and then come back fresh. I’m looking forward to sticky toffee pudding and apple pie!”

Ethiopia’s Mary Keitany won the women’s race for a third time, with compatriot and 2016 champion Vivian Cheruiyot second and Caroline Kipkirui of Kenya third.

Fourth place went to another Kenyan, Magdalyne Masai, who had further reason for joy when Robertson proposed to her at the finish line after his race.

Keitany led from the front, dropping first Kipkirui as the leaders cruised through 5km in 16.01, then Cheruiyot beyond halfway, and produced a masterclass in front-running to finish 1.46 ahead of last year’s winner, with Kipkirui hanging on to finish third.

Gemma Steel was best of a British contingent that also included Scotland’s Susan Partridge and Sunderland’s Aly Dixon Steel, whose recent career has been dogged by injuries, ran brilliantly to finish sixthin 71.32 with Partridge seventh in 72.10 and Dixon eighth in 72.29.

Keitany said: “It was great for me to come again, and win for the third time. “Today it was not easy but I tried my best. At times it was too windy.”

Briton Simon Lawson won the men’s wheelchair race, while Swiss athlete Manuela Shar triumphed in the women’s, with Scotland’s Sammi

Kinghorn second.