Former Bupa Great North Run champion Martin Lel, one of the World's leading distance stars, has announced he will be back to chase a third title at the Tyneside venue on September 18.
The 32-year-old Kenyan, a late entry for this year's Virgin London Marathon, bounced back from period of injury to show he is still a big name in the distance running world finishing second in April's race. Now Lel, who missed defending his Bupa Great North Run crown last year after another setback in his preparations, will bid to add to his titles at the World's biggest half marathon race.
He told SCOTTISH RUNNING GUIDE: "I'm looking forward to returning to what is a great event and where I have scored two important victories, winning the Bupa Great North Run is never easy given the strength of the fields and therefore my two victories mean very much to me. Now I want another."
In previous visits to Tyneside, Lel defeated fellow Kenyan's World Marathon record holder, the late Sammy Wanjiru in 2007 and then two years later Kiplimo Kimutai, the latter race in a very fast 59 minutes 32 seconds. This year, he will line up against fellow countryman Emmanuel Mutai, who pulled away from him in the final stages of the London race and Morocco's two-time World Marathon gold medallist, Jaouad Gharib, who has placed third in the last two Bupa Great North Runs.
In a boost for home grown distance running, there is also the possibility that man of the moment Mo Farah, who has been in stunning track form this year will also be among the field. Last summer's European 5,000m and 10,000m gold medallist recently revealed he will compete in either the Bupa Great North Run or the previous day's Bupa Great North City Games over two miles in the street athletics match between Great Britain and the United States.
The 28-year-old will make his decision after the World Championships finish in Daegu on September 4, where he is favourite for the 10,000m title and if feeling no effects from that testing encounter may also chase another success in the 5,000m.
Should Farah, the UK's fastest ever half marathon performer, feel he is ready for the longer distance, it would see him attempt to become the first Briton to win the Bupa Great North Run since Steve Kenyon achieved the feat in 1985. Keep visiting scottishrunningguide.com to find out if Mo will be on the start line.