Portsmouth, UKTwotime World Marathon champion Abel Kirui, already one of the favourites to win gold medal at next year's London Olympic Games, will compete in the Bupa Great South Run on 30 October.
The brilliant Kenyan, who won a second successive World title at the recent championships in Daegu, will reduce his distance when competing over the fast 10 mile course at this IAAF Gold Label Road Race. His opposition will include Great Britain's European 10,000m silver medalist Chris Thompson.
Kirui comes from Kenya’s Rift Valley region, which has produced many of the world’s greatest road runners. He will bid to become the fifth Kenyan winner of the Great South Run in the last six years.
World 5000m gold medallist Mo Farah broke the African nation's sequence of victories two years ago, but the European champion is now resting after his excellent year, and Chris Thompson will lead the domestic challenge.
"Kirui and Thompson are the first two big signings for this year's race, and I'm sure they will make a big impact at the end of the month. But it won’t be a two man race, we hope other star names will be taking part." said Peter Riley, elite athletes manager of the Bupa Great South Run.
"Abel's on a real high at the moment. The Kenyan selectors, along with the other World Championship title winners, pre-selected him last week for the London Olympics, taking a great weight from his shoulders, given that he will not have to undertake another qualifying race.
"He's also celebrating his promotion in the Kenyan Administration Police Force. After his victory in Daegu his employees elevated him from Sergeant to Chief Inspector, which is a unique reward for his victory."
Kirui plans to concentrate his attention on races such as the Bupa Great South Run in his ten month build up to the biggest test of his career.
“This will give me ample time to train and focus well," he said of Athletics Kenya's confidence in his ability to chase hard for a medal in London. What else will I want in the world but an Olympic Gold around my neck?”
Organisers for the IAAF
- Abel Kirui celebrates winning his second World Marathon title (Getty Images) © Copyright