14 AUG 2012 General News

Farah and Gebrselassie set for Half Marathon clash in Newcastle

Mo Farah of Great Britain crosses the finish line to win gold ahead of Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia and Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa of Kenya in the Men's 5000m Final on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games  on August 11, 2012 (Getty Images)Mo Farah of Great Britain crosses the finish line to win gold ahead of Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia and Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa of Kenya in the Men's 5000m Final on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Newcastle, UKNewlycrowned Olympic 5000 and 10,000m gold medallist Mo Farah, after those two terrific victories, faces an equally tough test of his ability when facing Haile Gebrselassie in next month's Bupa Great North Run.

Farah, Great Britain's fastest Half Marathon performer with a time of 1:00:23 will take on Gebrselassie, the world's greatest ever distance runner, in what should be a classic race from Newcastle to South Shields in this IAAF Gold Label Road Race on 16 September.

The iconic Gebrselassie, a former World Half Marathon record holder, has a personal best of 58:55 and is returning to the Great North Run where on his debut in 2010 he won in a very impressive time of 59:33.

Now event organisers are confident that his presence will see Farah become the first British athlete ever to smash the milestone 60 minutes barrier at the head of the 54,000 runners entered for the race.

"Mo's only ran one serious Half Marathon and that saw him win in New York last year against a very strong international field," said Peter Riley, the race's elite athletes manager.

"That victory and the fact that he is the country's fastest half marathoner clearly suggests, with Gebrselassie who normally has a habit every time he races of running at sub one hour pace, he will achieve the feat.

"Mo as a former European Cross Country champion has plenty of strength for the longer distances as he also proved when winning the 2009 Bupa Great South Run, a high quality 10 miler in Portsmouth with a very fast time of 46:25."

"I'm sure the head-to-head between them will be something special. Who knows with Farah expected to eventually move up to the Marathon he could in a few years' time even see him talked about as being an equal of Gebrselassie."

Farah at 29, who started last year's race shortly after winning the World Championships 5000m title, is slightly over 10 years younger than the "Emperor" as the African star is worldwide known, and first came head-to-head with him at the 2003 London Grand Prix which was a no contest at Crystal Palace.

Gebrselassie coming off the dizzy heights of his track career which included scoring two Olympic 10,000m victories before switching to the Marathon event, was an easy winner of the race with his then rookie British rival down in ninth position.

Now Farah has matured into an almost equally great Olympian and the streets of Tyneside offer a unique opportunity to show his ability when looking for new challenges as he undertakes a road running career.

Organisers for the IAAF