Usain Bolt ran the world’s fastest 150 meters to win a soggy street sprint on Sunday that marked his return to competition after a car crash left him requiring minor foot surgery.
The triple Olympic champion ran down Manchester’s main thoroughfare in windy conditions, finishing in 14.35 seconds to break Donovan Bailey’s 12-year-old world best of 14.99 in the rarely run 150. Pietro Mennea of Italy ran in a hand-timed 14.8 in 1983.
“It is one more to the tally,” the 22-year-old Bolt said. “It’s my first major competition of the season so I was just happy to come out and run injury free and run a good time.”
The Jamaican appeared to stumble after surging out of the blocks but then got into his stride. But he struggled to slow down after the finish despite organizers extending the temporary track by 70 meters and crashed into a camera.
“I was kind of worried, I thought I was going to die at the end,” he joked. “My agent told me that the finish of the race was the clock and I was running after the race was done, about 50 meters more.
“I think I could go even quicker because I’m not in the best of shape right now and I slipped at the start a little bit. I’m probably only 70 percent fit and I’ve got a lot of work to do and need to buckle down right now.”
The last 100 was run in 8.70, considerably faster than his world record time of 9.69 that won Olympic gold last August.
“Oh wow, that’s good,” he said after being informed of the time.
Last month, Bolt crashed his BMW into a ditch along a highway and required surgery on his left foot after stepping onto thorns while getting out of the wreckage.
Hundreds of fans lined the route Sunday in the narrow street bisecting the city as the sun re-emerged after heavy rain had fallen during the heats, which Bolt did not have to enter.
Marlon Devonish of Britain was second in 15.07, followed by Ivory Williams of the United States and Britain’s Rikki Fifton in the four-man race.
Debbie McKenzie Ferguson of the Bahamas won the women’s race in 16.54 ahead of Britain’s Olympic 400 champion Christine Ohuruogu, who finished in 17.10.
Bolt made a quick dash from the center to Old Trafford to attend Manchester United’s player of the year awards ceremony. He saw his favorite team win the Premier League title on Saturday from the directors’ box.
“It is a great honor for me to be around the players because I’ve seen these guys on TV every day,” Bolt said. “I’m used to people coming to me, but for me meeting the players is such a great thing.”
Bolt established himself as the world’s fastest man at the Beijing Olympics, setting world records in the 100 and 200 meters and also running for the Jamaican team that broke the world mark in the 400-meter relay.
Earlier Haile Gebrselassie won the Great Manchester Run in 27 minutes, 39 seconds, but a strong wind stymied his attempt to regain the 10-kilometer world record of 27:01.
Watch Usain Bolt Set The 150 Meters Record