(© Mark Shearman)
Tirunesh Dibaba, the Ethiopian who holds the world and Olympic 10,000m titles, will renew her keen rivalry with Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat when she lines up in the Bupa Great North Run, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday 7 September.
Kiplagat ran her way into the record books in Moscow last summer as the first back-to-back winner of the women's world marathon title but had been beaten by Dibaba in a thrilling sprint finish in the 2012 Bupa Great North Run.
However, the tables were turned at the London Marathon in April this year. After Dibaba dropped a bottle at the 30km drinks station, Kiplagat pulled clear before winning the race.
Dibaba had to settle for third place in her debut marathon but returned to winning ways at the Bupa Great Manchester Run 10km in May. The 28-year-old has not raced since then but is getting ready for what promises to be another gripping head-to-head with Kiplagat.
The diminutive Ethiopian has been a trailblazer in women’s distance running for more than a decade now.
She became the youngest ever individual world champion when she won the 5000m title as an 18-year-old in Paris back in 2003.
Dibaba became the first woman to complete an Olympic double at 5000m and 10,000m when she struck gold at both distances in Beijing in 2008 and she successfully defended her 10,000m crown at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
She has held the world 5000m record, 14:11.15, since 2008 and extended her range to the marathon in London on 13 April, finishing third in 2:20:35. It made Dibaba the third fastest ever debutante over the classic distance.
Dibaba’s form over the half marathon distance on Tyneside will be a pointer towards her prospects in a second venture over the marathon distance.
This year’s event is guaranteed to be a momentous occasion. It will be the first running event in the world to reach a landmark one million finishers.
Organisers for the IAAF