Mary Keitany has confirmed she will return to Tyneside to defend her Great North Run title on Sunday 13 September. The Ethiopian runner provided a scintillating performance in last year’s race to break Paula Radcliffe’s course record, shaving one second off the time to win in 65:39.
Keitany’s participation also means she will set up an interesting duel against compatriot Tigist Tufa, the athlete who bested Keitany at this year’s Virgin London Marathon and prevented her from securing a third victory.
The elite women’s field in the IAAF gold label event will also include Priscah Jeptoo, the 31-year-old Kenyan, who was victorious in the 2013 Great North Run, and Britain’s Gemma Steel – an impressive runner-up to Keitany last year in 68 minutes 13 seconds
In the men’s competition, a number of elite athletes have already confirmed their entry, including: 2014 London Marathon runner up Stanley Biwott of Kenya; South African Stephen Mokoka, winner of the 2014 Great Scottish Run; former Pan American Games 5000m champion Juan Luis Barrios. British interest will be supplied by Scot Callum Hawkins.
Regarded as one of the world’s leading half marathons, the Morrisons Great North Run was first staged in 1981 and has seen its stock soar. Last year, the event took its place in history as it became the first International Association of Athletics Federations race in the world to welcome its millionth finisher.