Three-time Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba will turn her attention away from the track to the roads on May 26 when she competes over 10km at the Bupa Great Manchester Run, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
Dibaba, who successfully defended her 10,000m title at last summer's London Games, is eager to return to action after having to pull out of the recent Virgin London Marathon with a shin injury which restricted her preparations.
Despite only having one two-mile indoor race under her belt this year, the 27-year-old is adamant that she will be in good condition to challenge for victory in what will be just her second ever 10km race on the roads.
Dibaba knows plenty about the history of the Bupa Great Manchester Run since its inception in 2003. Her fellow Ethiopians Berhane Adere and Worknesh Kidane have both taken the honours over a very fast and flat course.
Some of the world's best distance runners – including past World champions Sonia O'Sullivan, Lornah Kiplagat, Vivian Cheruiyot and Linet Masai – have also triumphed in the event, and now Dibaba will be eager to add her name to that list.
“It will be an honour to see Dibaba on the start line,” said Peter Riley, elite athletes manager of the Bupa Great Manchester Run. “She’s not just a track athlete and World record-holder, but also a former World cross-country individual champion on four occasions.
“Her performances on the roads cannot be underestimated either. She’s a solid performer over 5km and 10km distances, and she set the World 15km record in 2009. Last year, on her Half-marathon debut at the Bupa Great North Run, she won a thriller in a fast time of 1:07:35.
“Having said that, during her career she’s raced sparingly over 10km on the roads. But the distance is made for her and I am certain she will strongly challenge the course record of 31:07 Adere achieved in 2006.
“Maybe if conditions are perfect we could see a major attack on the stellar UK all-comers’ record of 30:38, which Paula Radcliffe roared to in 2002. It still remains a tough mark but you cannot rule that out.”
Organisers for the IAAF