Debutant Cheruiyot To Take On Dibaba And Jeptoo

AJ Bell GR Training Version

The Great North Run will be broadcast on BBC One on Sunday, 11 September, between 9.30am and 1.30pm, with a highlights show on BBC Two at 6pm.

THE BATTLE for Great North Run honours will be fierce as Olympic gold medallists Vivian Cheruiyot and Tirunesh Dibaba will take on Priscah Jeptoo in a packed women's field in the world famous half marathon.

Cheruiyot will make her Great North Run debut having taken victory over 5,000m at the Olympic Games in Rio, following her silver medal over the 10,000m a week earlier in which Tirunesh won bronze.

Between Cheruiyot and Tirunesh there are ten Olympic medals and 15 world titles – Cheruiyot focusing on the road having retired from the track following Rio.

The Kenyan 32-year-old, who turns 33 on race day, won the Great South Run in Portsmouth last year in 51.17 and is looking forward to making the step up to the half-marathon.

She said: “I have heard many good things about the Great North Run so I am glad to be competing in it for the first time. I dreamed of winning an Olympic gold medal and I've done it, so now my focus is on the road and with so many great runners there on the day, the Great North Run will be a good test for me."

Tirunesh is aiming to follow up her victory in this year's Great Manchester Run with a win in the iconic half marathon between Newcastle and South Shields, which she last won in 2012.

"I'm excited to be coming back to England for the Great North Run,” she said. “I love running this race which has such a strong history.

“I would be happy if I win for the second time but, as always, there is really strong competition and it will be a tough challenge, but one I am looking forward to.”

Jeptoo is another one to watch in the 13.1-mile race – her 65.45 on her way to Great North Run victory in 2013 is the fastest time in the women's field on Sunday and the Kenyan, who took silver in the Olympic Marathon in London 2012 is on the comeback from injury.

British interest focuses on Gemma Steel, whose last half marathon outing in the European Championships in Amsterdam saw her finish first Briton and tenth female.

Aly Dixon will be back in the North-East having represented Britain in the Olympic marathon in Rio, finishing a creditable 28th place. The Sunderland Stroller finished fourth last year behind Steel in second, where Mary Keitany took victory.

Kenyans Joyce Chepkirui, 2014 Commonwealth 10,000m champion, and Filomena Chepchirchir, will be joined by Brits Susan Partridge, Charlotte Purdue and Freya Ross, while 2014 European Cross Country team gold medallist Lily Partridge will also be aiming to challenge the leading pack.

The Great North Run will be broadcast on BBC One on Sunday, 11 September, between 9.30am and 1.30pm, with a highlights show on BBC Two at 6pm.