57,000 competitors will line up for the Great North Run tomorrow (Sunday 7 September) as the event celebrates its millionth finisher. Included in that field is Mo Farah, hoping to go one better than last year when he was beaten in a sprint finish by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.
The 31-year-old said: "Bekele had the edge over me last year but this time I am going out to try to win. Last year was a great race and I am looking forward to it again. Hopefully it should be exciting and I am happy to have home support."
Farah will face stiff competition from the likes of Olympic marathon champion Stepehen Kiprotich of Uganda. Tariku Bekele could also pose a challenge, despite the Ethiopian only having three half-marathons to his name and a PB of 62:59. The quickest in the field is Kenya’s Mike Kigen, who ran 59:58 in 2011. Kenya’s Mark Kiptoo could also be a threat and has a 2011 60:29 PB.
The women's field is star-studded. Ethiopia’s world and Olympic track champion Tirunesh Dibaba will look to reclaim the title she won in 2012 by beating Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat. She will be up against 2012 Olympic champion Tiki Gelana as well as Kenyan trio Edna Kiplagat, Mary Keitany and Caroline Kilel.
From a British perspective, Gemma Steel and Susan Partridge are the women to watch out for. Partridge, finished sixth in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games marathon and has a PB of 70:31. Steel is in good shape, having run a 31:27 road 10k recently. Her half marathon PB of 70:19 was run at the undulating Bupa Great Birmingham Run and that was 27 seconds quicker than she ran when finishing seventh in the 2012 Great North Run. Other British runners on the elite list include Sonia Samuels, Charlotte Purdue and Alyson Dixon, while Shelly Woods and Jade Jones head the wheelchair entries.