Mary Keitany will be on a revenge mission at the Morrisons Great North Run when she returns to the scene of her record-breaking triumph at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race on 13 September.
Last year the 33-year-old Kenyan was unstoppable on Tyneside, breaking Paula Radcliffe’s course record by a second with a winning time of 1:05:39.
Twelve months on, Keitany will be up against the Ethiopian runner who stopped her from completing a hat-trick of victories at this year’s London Marathon.
Keitany, the 2009 world half-marathon champion, lined up in the British capital in April hoping to repeat her triumphs of 2011 and 2012, but ultimately she had to settle for second place, 18 seconds behind Tigist Tufa, who prevailed in 2:23:22.
Tufa will not be the only tough opponent for Keitany, who holds the African marathon record of 2:18:37.
The field also includes Priscah Jeptoo, the 31-year-old Kenyan who was victorious at the 2013 Great North Run in 1:05:45 and who won silver medals in the marathon at both the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympic Games.
Like Tufa, Britain’s Gemma Steel – who finished runner-up to Keitany last year in 1:08:13 – had already been confirmed in the 2015 line-up. Ethiopians Birhane Dibaba and Shure Demise and Japan’s Reina Iwade have also signed up.
Keitany’s victory last year came when she was on the comeback trail following the birth of her second child. “I was not expecting to break Paula Radcliffe’s record,” she said. “It was my first half marathon after a long break.”
The elite men’s field is also attracting notable international entrants: 2014 London Marathon runner-up Stanley Biwott of Kenya, South African 5000m and 10,000m champion Stephen Mokoka, 2011 Pan-American 5000m champion Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico and Masato Kikuchi, who represented Japan at the 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.
Organisers for the IAAF