8th September 2018
FARAH BIDDING FOR RECORD FIFTH SUCCESSIVE TITLE AT GREAT NORTH RUN
Ten-time Olympic and world champion Sir Mo Farah (coach: Gary Lough, club: Newham & Essex Beagles) will hit the streets of Newcastle looking to make history this weekend by becoming the first man to win five Great North Runs in succession.
Victory in last year’s half marathon made him the first runner to successfully defend his title for four consecutive years but a win on Sunday will move him clear at the top of the honours list.
Farah will use the race as part of his preparation for the Chicago marathon next month and will have support from fellow Brits Andy Vernon (Nic Bideau, Aldershot, Farnham & District) and Jonny Mellor (Steve Vernon, Liverpool Harriers).
Farah will once again take on New Zealander Jake Robertson, who is enjoying an excellent 2018 which has seen him break the national 10,000m record and equal his half marathon personal best in Japan, where he stopped the clock at 60:01.
He also came close to beating Farah at last year’s event, with the Brit needing to produced a strong finish to fend him off and win by a margin of six seconds.
2017 London Marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru (KEN) and Stanley Biwott (KEN), who won the 2012 New York Marathon, will provide stiff competition for Farah, while double Commonwealth marathon champion Michael Shelley (AUS) makes his first Great North Run appearance.
The women’s half marathon promises to be an enticing encounter as pits world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN) against Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN), who is bidding for a second title in three years, following a win for Mary Keitany (KEN) last year.
Jepkosgei cut the tape in her record time of 64:51 in Prague last year, where she also broke the world 10km, 15km and 20km records in the process. She followed that up by becoming the first woman to go sub-30 minutes over 10km three months later, returning to Prague and running 29:43.
The British hopes will lie with British champion and European finalist Lily Partridge (self-coached, AFD) and Charlotte Purdue (Nic Bideau, AFD), the latter set a new PB of 70:29 over 13.1 miles at the Big Half Marathon in March.
Gemma Steel (Liz Nuttall, Charnwood) and Commonwealth Games finalist Aly Dixon (self-coached, Sunderland Strollers) are the other Brits looking to be in contention for victory. Betsy Saina, who finished fifth last year, also returns to the North-East.
Coverage of the Great North Run will be shown from 9:30am on Sunday, 9 September on BBC One until 1:30pm. Highlights will be shown on BBC Two between 5pm – 6pm.