Pavey took almost two minutes off her personal best in the half-marathon
Ethiopia's Gete Wami claimed a thrilling victory in the Great North Run half-marathon as Britain's Jo Pavey finished in third place.
Pavey, who is targeting the marathon at London 2012, was locked in a tense sprint finish with Wami and long-time Kenyan leader Magdelane Mukunzi.
Nothing could separate the trio in the closing stages but Wami decisively took the lead with just 30 metres to go.
Ethiopia's Tsegay Kebede claimed the men's race with a dominant display.
The Olympic marathon bronze medallist led from start to finish and came home just under two minutes ahead of compatriot Gebre Gebremariam.
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Kebede storms home under an hour
Abdi Abdirahman of the United States was third while Dan Robinson was the leading Brit in 13th.
The athletes enjoyed fine weather for the event, with bright sunshine replacing the wet and cold conditions the mile runners had to contend with on Saturday.
And the weather was conducive to quick times, with Pavey smashing her personal half-marathon best time by almost two minutes.
Pavey, who finished 12th in the 10,000m final at the Beijing Olympics, clocked a time of one hour 08 minutes and 53 seconds, with Wami winning by a second in 1:08:51.
She had said she was using this event to help determine whether to target the marathon at next summer's World Athletics Championships or embark on another track season.
Jo Pavey is disappointed with her third place
"I was pleased to get a PB," the 35-year-old told BBC Sport. "It was fantastic to have a good race at the end but I am frustrated to come third after all that distance running together.
"I battled and battled to the end. I wanted to do everything possible to win in a big race like this. It was a positive step forward, the most positive I've ever felt in a long race.
"I enjoyed it. I am considering running the Great South Run and then I will look towards a marathon at some point. But that is a long way away."
Pavey's display this year was in marked contrast to her Great North debut in 2006 when she was rushed to hospital for urgent medical attention with high blood sugar levels after finishing fourth.
Her dietary regime now includes eating a tuna sandwich three hours before racing, as well as listening to physiological advice, although the problem has not yet been totally eradicated.
"My sugar was high today but not as high as last time," she said. "It shows things are getting under control. I think it was the exciting finish to the race which set it off. But I've still got a lot to learn.
"Last time I ran the hill as fast as I could but people still got away from me, this time I took it a bit more cautiously. That helped on the final stretch.
"My legs were not as bad as two years ago. Then they were completely gone and my hands were blue. This year I finished a bit better!"
A record 52,000 people took part in the world's biggest half-marathon, with the runners raising an estimated £10m for charity.
BBC TV news presenter Sophie Raworth, Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones, model Nell McAndrew, Apprentice winner Lee McQueen and stars from Emmerdale, EastEnders and Coronation Street were among the celebritries taking part alongside the thousands of club athletes and fun-runners.
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