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Brownlee's stunning triathlon run for gold
By Roger Vaughan
03:36 AEST Wed Aug 8 2012

National triathlon coach Shaun Stephens would love to know how many track athletes in Australia can run 29 minutes and seven seconds for 10,000m.

Because that's what British star Alistair Brownlee did as he put the exclamation mark on a comprehensive Olympic triathlon gold medal performance with an astonishing 29:07 closing 10km run leg.

That time on a park course after a 1.5km swim and 43km cycle was less than a minute-and-a-half slower than fellow Briton Mo Farah's winning 27:30.42 in the 10,000m on the track at Olympic Stadium.

And he was virtually jogging on the finish straight as he soaked up the applause at London's Hyde Park on Tuesday.

"It would have been near 29 minutes flat if I hadn't mucked around at the finish," said 24-year-old Brownlee.

Little wonder he later revealed he may have a crack at the track 10,000m.

"I think I'm looking to do some slightly different things over the next few years. We've got the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in two years so who knows, I might have a crack at the 10km there," he said.

"It would be something different and I'd really enjoy doing that."

Brownlee became the first favourite to win the Olympic men's triathlon since the sport debuted at Sydney 2000, clocking an hour 46 minutes and 25 seconds and beat Spaniard Javier Gomez by 11 seconds.

Younger brother Jonathan Brownlee overcame a 15-second time penalty for mounting his bike too early in the first transition to finish 31 seconds behind him and became the second family member on the podium.

Courtney Atkinson was the top Australian finisher in 18th, 2:54 behind Brownlee.

But the great talking point was world champion Brownlee's run time, which left seasoned triathlon observers gobsmacked.

The top four finishers all ran under 30 minutes, but Alistair was in a league of his own.

"The whole triathlon community is stunned by it - he's raised the bar yet again, at the Olympics," Stephens said.

"To break away, with a lap to go as well, he's just dominating the sport at the moment.

"Clearly, no-one has an answer at the moment.

"Gomez ... even he's in a different race, it's phenomenal."

While the British had a dream race, the Australian men were unable to break their Olympic medal duck.

After Atkinson, teammates Brad Kahlefeldt finished 32nd and Brendan Sexton 35th.

By contrast, Erin Densham's bronze medal three days ago means the Australian women have medalled in triathlon at all four Olympics.

Kahlefeldt overcame a severe bout of pneumonia in May to make the Olympic team and Atkinson was also pleased with his result after a year of sub-standard form.

The British race plan worked to perfection and Atkinson was the only Australian able to make the front group of 22 that dominated the race.

Atkinson was in the top 10 at the start of the run, but his lack of form showed as he dropped back through the field.

"I said I just wanted to come and put myself in the race - I did that," he said.

"It's a bloody tough sport, I wonder why the hell I chose it sometimes.

"It's funny, I was disappointed with my result, my performance in Beijing (Olympics) with 11th.

"I will tell you, 18th today feels a lot better ... I had to overcome a lot more to come here."

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