Haile Gebrselassie, the greatest distance runner of all-time, will be on a double mission when he returns to the happy hunting ground of the Morrisons Great Manchester Run on Sunday 10 May.
The peerless Ethiopian, who has broken a staggering 27 world records and claimed two Olympic 10,000m titles, intends to challenge for a sixth victory in Europe's biggest 10k road race and then set off and run the course for a second time to savour the unique atmosphere among the hordes in the 40,000 strong field.
“Manchester is one of my favourite cities in the world to race in,” said Gebrselassie. “The atmosphere, the people and the organisation are all fantastic. This time after I have competed in the elite race on May the 10th I am going to jog round the 10k again with another wave of runners.
“It will be a unique experience for me and I look forward to meeting some of those who have cheered me on before!"
At 41, Gebrselassie has achieved living legend status in his sport – bagging four World Championship 10,000m golds as well as his litany of world records and his two Olympic crowns – but running with the masses after racing the elite field in Manchester can only enhance his reputation.
The 5ft 4in phenomenon has already won the Morrisons Great Manchester Run a record five times – in 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He finished third in 2013 but will be gunning for win number six when he lines up alongside fellow ‘Golden Oldie' Bernard Lagat in the 13th edition of the prestigious IAAF Gold Label road race.
Lagat, winner of the 1500m and 5,000m at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, has pledged to have a crack at Gebrselassie's Over 40s Masters world record in what will be his debut race at 10km on the roads
The 40-year-old American, who rewrote the Over 40s world record book during the 2015 indoor season, has noted that Gebrselassie clocked the 10km road record, 28 minutes 00 seconds, when finishing third behind Uganda's Moses Kipsiro and Wilson Kipsang of Kenya in Manchester in 2013.
“It is not going to be easy,” said Lagat,” but it is good to have something to shoot at.
“It is a really quick time. It shows how great Haile has been for so long. It will be an honour for me to run in the same race with him.
“I'm really excited about it. It's one of the reasons I wanted to run in the Morrisons Great Manchester Run.”
The elite women's race in Manchester will feature another flourishing member of the Fortysomething brigade: Britain's Jo Pavey, the 41-year-old European 10,000m champion.
Entry to the Morrisons Great Manchester Run is available at www.greatrun.org/manchester