Wilson Kipsang holds off Micah Kogo at the Great North Run (© Mark Shearman )
A titanic battle between Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie and Kenyan star Wilson Kipsang is forecast when they challenge for victory on 26 May at the Bupa Great Manchester Run, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
Gebrselassie, who announced his participation a few weeks ago, is no stranger to the meeting and the 40-year-old will be seeking a sixth title, including a fifth consecutive win in the 10km event which will host a field of 40,000.
But the 2012 Olympic Marathon bronze medallist Kipsang will be no pushover and has the ability to sink his opponent’s ambitions.
Last year Gebrselassie, who was forced to withdraw from the Bupa Great North Run through injury, could only watch Kipsang claim victory in the world famous Half-marathon.
Gebrselassie’s fastest run in Manchester came in 2005 when he won in 27:25, just 23 seconds away from his PB. Last year in Manchester he equalled the third-fastest time of his career to win in 27:39.
Kipsang’s best for 10km is 27:42, but that was set en route to a 58:59 Half-marathon clocking in 2009, before he made his breakthrough as one of the world’s best marathon runners.
The pair have met only once before, six years ago at the Wincanton 15km in Heerenberg. On that occasion, Gebrselassie was triumphant as Kipsang finished almost a minute behind in third place.
“That’s set everything up for what should be a great rematch, although over a shorter distance,” said Peter Riley, the event’s elite athletes manager.
“Haile may be eager and confident for a sixth success but Wilson will be equally determined to spoil any celebration party.”
Former European 10,000m silver medallist Chris Thompson, a regular at the meeting in recent years and second two years ago, will carry British hopes of a victory.
Organisers for the IAAF