Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselassie have both withdrawn from next week's Bupa Great North Run half marathon. Double Olympic gold medallist Mo recently celebrated the arrival of twin daughters and admitted they had been a distraction from his training commitments for the race which takes place on Sunday 16 September. Ethiopian running legend Gebrselassie has opted out of the race too; he has a knee injury.
Farah said: "I'm sorry not to be able to take part in the Bupa Great North Run but the last few weeks have taken their toll and it would be disrespectful to take on the distance without the necessary hard training." Although he won't be running, Mo will be an honorary starter at the event along with four other British athletic heroes - rower Kat Copeland, long jumper Greg Rutherford, boxer Nicola Adams, and Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds. Mo said he was looking forward to 'high fiving as many people as possible'.
The quintet will set the record 55,000 participants off on the race from Newcastle to South Shields, just after the Red Arrows flying display team salute the runners with a fly-past on the start line. Brendan Foster, chairman of organisers Nova International, said: "London 2012 inspired the nation and these talented individuals encapsulate the spirit of the Games. We're thrilled they will be joining us in Newcastle."