Double Olympic and World champion Mo Farah is to return to Tyneside to defend the men's crown in the Morrisons Great North Run next month.
The home-town hero of London 2012 won the world's leading half marathon for the first time in a thrilling battle with Kenya's Mike Kigen last year. On the day before lining up to defend his crown on Sunday 13 September he plans to jog around the course in the Morrisons Great North 5k and then perform the honours as official starter for the Mini Great North Run.
Farah, who defends his 5,000m and 10,000m titles at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing from 22-30 August, will be attempting to become only the second British runner to win the elite men's race for a second time in the Morrisons Great North Run.
Local hero Mike McLeod, the 1984 Olympic 10,000m silver medallist, won the first two editions of the prestigious IAAF Gold Label event in 1981 and 1982. And only one other runner has successfully defended the men's title: the late Benson Masya, who achieved back to back victories in 1991 and 1992.
The elite men's field on Tyneside will include several notable international entrants: 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 of Mexico; and Japan's Masato Kikuchi, who finished 18th in last year's World Half Marathon Championship race.
Further British interest will be supplied by Scot Callum Hawkins, who was fifth in the Under 23 race at the European Cross Country Championships in Samakov, Bulgaria, last December.
The Morrisons Great North Run will be broadcast live on BBC One from 9.30am on Sunday 13 September.