08 APR 2011 Preview Dublin, Ireland

Lebid to challenge Fagan in Dublin 10Km - PREVIEW

Running out of fingers - Sergey Lebid after his ninth European Cross Country title (Hasse Sjogren / DECA Text&Bild)Running out of fingers - Sergey Lebid after his ninth European Cross Country title (Hasse Sjogren / DECA Text&Bild) © Copyright
Europe's greatest ever Cross Country runner Sergey Lebid will be aiming to finally win the SPAR Great Ireland Run in Dublin on Sunday (10).

The 35-year-old Ukrainian with an unmatchable nine Euro gold medals under his belt and who has contested every championships since Alnwick in Northumberland staged the first in 1994, will be competing at this IAAF Bronze Label Road Race in Phoenix Park for the fourth time.

Despite his pedigree as a distance runner, his highest finishing position was third three years ago and Lebid will be determined to clinch the coveted title in Ireland's fastest growing road race staged over 10 kilometres.

Martin Fagan who a year ago became the first ever Irish male winner of the SPAR Great Ireland Run is fully prepared mentally and physically to retain his title although on this occasion the task will be very much harder.

The USA-based athlete admitted his 2010 success was made less difficult because of the absence of several overseas stars caused by the flight cancellations due to the volcanic ash disruption on travelling.

Fagan knows he will have to be at his very best with not only Lebid in the field but also Jesus Espana of Spain who was beaten for the European 5000m track gold medal last summer by Mo Farah and the highly experienced former Olympic and World medallist Rui Silva from Portugal.

Focus on teenager Purdue in women's race

Teenager Charlotte Purdue the top European finisher at the recent World Cross Country Championships will continue her transition into the senior ranks of international athletics when chasing victory in the women's race.

The 19-year-old is the latest youngster to emerge from the continuous conveyor platform line of women athletes produced by Mick Woods at her Aldershot club where currently she is stealing the limelight from Commonwealth 1500m bronze medallist Stephanie Twell.

Now Purdue after a brilliant winter season where she won the European Junior Cross Country gold medal and also proved herself British Number One at senior level, is switching her attention to the roads.

Purdue will with multi world track and road running champion Berhane Adere in a strong field not start favourite, but has the ability to unsettle her opponents with her recognisable ability and uninhibited running.

Ethiopia's Adere clearly stands head and shoulders above her opponents but Purdue and the Irish duo of Mary Cullen and Fionualla Briton will be aiming to scalp one the world's greatest ever women's distance runners.

The IAAF World Cross Country Championships revealed the competitiveness of Purdue who was 14th two places ahead of Britton Ireland's leading distance runner who was fourth in last December's European Cross Championships.

Cullen the former European Indoor 3000 metres bronze despite a lean patch imposed through injuries, will be aiming to prove her credentials and like Britton will benefit from home crowd support.

Organisers for the IAAF