Head-to-heads galore at Bupa Great North weekend

A look ahead to a Bupa Great North weekend which includes the CityGames and Great North Run with Farah, Gebrselassie and Bekele among those in action

Bupa GNR 2013

The world’s No.1 half-marathon serves up the most intriguing head-to-heads in its 32-year history this weekend as Mo Farah, Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele are to slug it out for the men’s Bupa Great North Run title and Meseret Defar and Tirunesh Dibaba battle for the women’s honours.

But Sunday’s half marathon is only one part of an action-packed Great North weekend which will also see some of the world’s best track and field athletes take to the Newcastle-Gateshead quayside for the CityGames (highlights for which can be found below).

More on the impressive men’s and women’s Great North run line ups can be found here for men and here for women. Although it is unlikely anyone else will gatecrash the big three in the men’s race, the field does also include Italian Daniele Meucci, the European 10,000m runner-up in 2012, and Australian Collis Birmingham, who was seventh in last year’s Bupa Great North Run.

In addition to Farah, the leading British runners include Andy Vernon, Jonny Hay, Jonny Mellor, Ryan McLeod and Neil Renault, Martin Williams and local stalwart Ian Hudspith of Morpeth Harriers.

In the women’s race, Defar and Dibaba are set to be joined by Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya, the London Olympic marathon silver medallist, and Portugal’s Jessica Augusto, the 2009 Great North Run winner. Gemma Steel leads the domestic challenge, while Royal Sutton Coldfield runner Laura Whittle and local Sunderland marathoner Alyson Dixon will also be in action.

Josh Cassidy defends the wheelchair title he won in 2012, but the Canadian will face tough opposition from Paralympic legend David Weir. Shelly Woods and Jade Jones lead the women’s wheelchair race entries.

Great North CityGames

Taking place on a unique, purpose-built track on Saturday, the CityGames format lets fans get close to the action and it’s completely free to spectate. Last year over 25,000 spectators watched the meeting – here’s a look ahead to what are set to be some of the 2013 highlights:

» James Dasaolu faces American 9.88 man Ryan Bailey and fellow Brits Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Dwain Chambers over 100m.

» Paralympic gold medallist Jonnie Peacock goes head-to-head with American Richard Browne in the T43/44 100m to continue the pair’s fierce rivalry.

» Christine Ohuruogu, the world 400m champion, clashes with American Natasha Hastings, Jamaican Aleen Bailey and fellow Briton Shana Cox over 150m.

» Chris Tomlinson, a controversial omission from the World Championships, will look to end his season on a high in the long jump against Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor of the United States.

» On the roads, world 1500m gold medallist Asbel Kiprop heads the entries for the men’s mile. Intriguingly, Andrew Osagie and Mike Rimmer move up from 800m to also tackle the mile.

» Jenny Meadows is set to mark her return from injury in the women’s mile, with Laura Weightman also hoping for a late season win after mid-season injury disappointment. Hannah England and Eilish McColgan are also in action, as are Kenyans Hellen Obiri and Milcah Chemos.

» A more in-depth preview to this weekend’s action together with a timetable of events can be found in the September 12 issue of Athletics Weekly which is available here or digitally here. The action will be covered live on the BBC and featured in unrivalled depth in next week’s AW.

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