TRIPLE Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele will take on all comers when he returns to the Great Manchester Run.
The Ethiopian made a storming return to fitness after 11 months out with an Achilles injury, finishing third in last weekend’s London Marathon in 2:06.36, and will contest Europe’s biggest 10K event on Sunday, May 22, where Wilson Kipsang and Zane Robertson will provide competition.
Bekele, who holds the world record over 5,000m and 10,000m, won gold medals in the 10,000m in 2004 and 2008, where he also took gold in the 5,000m.
The five times world champion and 11 times World Cross Country Champion will take his place on the start line at the IAAF Gold Label event in Manchester with his focus this year on the Olympic marathon event having impressed with his display in London.
The 33-year-old confessed that he was only at 90 per cent fitness ahead of the marathon, having completed six weeks’ specific training for the event. On the day, he missed four of his drink bottles after the course pacers had mistakenly taken them first.
A winner in Manchester in 2014 after beating Kipsang into second place, Bekele won the Great North Run in 2013 from Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselassie in what was billed as the greatest road race of all time, and has also won the Great Ireland Run twice.
Bekele joins Kipsang, Robertson and compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba, who was announced last week, on the start line in Manchester, alongside Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat and Great Britain’s Gemma Steel.
The Great Manchester Run forms the final part of a weekend of top-quality sporting action in the city, with the Great CityGames Manchester kicking things off on Friday, May 20, followed by the Junior and Mini Great Manchester Run on Saturday.
Entries are still open for the Great Manchester Run, for more information visit greatrun.org/manchester