Farah switches event at Great North weekend as Geb withdraws

Half-marathon at Great North weekend is hit by the withdrawal of Haile Gebrselassie and a switch of events from Mo Farah

Mo Farah (Mark Shearman)

After a whirlwind few weeks, Mo Farah has decided to step down in distance on the weekend of the Bupa Great North Run.

The double Olympic champion was due to compete in the second half-marathon of his career – and his first on British soil – but instead he will now contest the invitational 2 miles event which has been added to the Great North CityGames schedule on the Saturday afternoon.

Farah, who won gold in both the 5000m and 10,000m at the London 2012 Games, has recently celebrated the arrival of twin daughters which has been an understandable distraction from his training commitments for the half marathon distance.

“I’m sorry not to be able to take part in the Bupa Great North Run but the last few weeks have taken their toll and it would be disrespectful to take on the distance without the necessary hard training,” he said.

“Of course I’ll be delighted to take part on the Saturday afternoon, before high-fiving as many people as possible on Sunday morning!”

Farah has raced just once since the Olympics, which was also over the two-mile distance at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting, where he enjoyed a comfortable victory in front of a home crowd.

After taking part in his two-mile race next weekend, Farah will be on hand to assist four other gold medallists from London 2012 with honorary starting duties at the Bupa Great North Run.

Farah will join rower Kat Copeland, boxer Nicola Adams, long jumper Greg Rutherford and Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds on the start line.

Meanwhile, Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie, who won the event in 2010, has been forced to withdraw from the Bupa Great North Run due to a knee injury. Organisers are working on replacements for the elite field.

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