While the tense conclusion to the English Premier league finally separated the two Manchester sides, the city will this time be united as it celebrates the 10th staging of the Bupa Great Manchester Run on Sunday (May 20). With 40,000 runners expected to take part, the race looks set to further establish itself as one of the leading mass participation events in the world. In the lead-up to this year's event, excitement has intensified with confirmation of both Haile Gebreselassie and Patrick Makau's participation, setting up an interesting duel between past and present world record holders.
Earlier this week, event organisers revealed that Ayele Abshero, tipped to supersede Gebreselassie and Makau as the next fastest marathon runner, will also be competing on Sunday. Abshero, 21, set the fourth fastest time in his debut event at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon. 2:04:23. The Ethiopian athlete completed the race in 2:04:23, merely 45 seconds behind Makau's performance in Berlin.
In the women's field, the strongest domestic challenge looks set to come from Gemma Steel, Mara Yamauchi and Charlotte Purdue. The trio of British hopefuls will be up against former World 10,000m champion Linet Masai, who boasts a 30:26 over the distance.
First held in May 2003 when around 10,000 competitors took part, the event has experienced a massive upsurge in popularity and boasts some of the most prestigious names in the sport as previous winners. Early weather indications show runners can look forward to cool, dry conditions on Sunday, with temperatures around 10C.
For all those looking to watch the events unfold, the Bupa Great Manchester Run will be broadcast live on BBC2 from 10am to 12:30pm.