Tirunesh Dibaba's Half Marathon Debut Will Be A Good One - The Two-Time Olympic 10,000 Champ Will Clash With The Olympic Marathon Champ Tikki Gelana on Sunday
2011 World Champ Edna Kiplagat Is Also In The Field
By Dave Martin
September 11, 2012
Three-time Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba after her latest 10,000 metres victory in last month's London Games will turn her attention to winning the Bupa Great North Run on September 16.
Dibaba will make her debut over the distance in the World's greatest half marathon race from Newcastle-to-South Shields where the elite elite includes reigning Olympic and World marathon champions Tikki Gelana and Edna Kiplagat.
Her appearance in the IAAF Gold Label Event is a clear indication that the 27-year-old Ethiopian after highly successful track and cross country careers now intends switching her attention to road racing inlcuding a possible marathon next spring.
Dibaba has limited experience of road racing mainly having competed over five kilometres in recent years but in a rare outing over 15 kilometres in 2009 she set a World record 15K (8 mile) 46 minutes 28 minutes in Nijmegen.
Now Dibaba is taking the first step forward to emulating the achievements of her cousin Derartu Tulu the World's greatest ever women's distance runner who after her transition proved her legendary status with wins which included the Tokyo, London and New York City Marathons.
"Tulu was also a winner a winner of the 25th Anniversary Bupa Great North Run seven years ago so just as she followed in her footsteps at Olympic and World Championships level, Dibaba has another target to aim for," said Peter Riley, the race's elite athletes man.
"I'm sure although it is the furthest Tirunesh has ever competed over she will adapt to 13 1/2 miles quite easily and after resting before returning to training following her Olympic exploits where she also claimed the 5,000m bronze medal will be fully prepared.
But it is going to be a great challenge for her to win particularly with Gelana, Kiplagat and (Irene) Jerotich who are also experienced half marathoners taking part and let's not forget Jo Pavey who always gives everyone a race fore their money."
Pavey will be joined in the race by Freya Murray the first Briton to finish in the Olympic Marathon while Portugal's Jessica Augusto the Bupa Great North Run winner in 2009 is also returning.
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