Hawkins and Farah will battle over 13.1 miles in London, with Daniel Wanjiru set to challenge and Lily Partridge racing the women’s event
While the eyes of the track world are on Birmingham this weekend for the IAAF World Indoor Championships, road runners will turn their attention to the exciting new half-marathon organised by the London Marathon – The Vitality Big Half.
Despite the recent severe weather conditions, organisers say the event will continue as planned on Sunday (March 4).
The Big Relay and The Vitality Big Festival will also take place as planned, but The Little Half fun run has been cancelled.
The augural Big Half is set to see Mo Farah and Callum Hawkins clash over a fast course from Tower Bridge to Greenwich, which is effectively being run over the reverse direction of the London Marathon route, cutting out the start and finish of the course and the loop around the Isle of Dogs.
Farah, who is preparing for the Virgin Money London Marathon in April, has not competed since last September when the 10-time global track gold medallist won the Simplyhealth Great North Run in 60:06.
Hawkins, a brilliant fourth in the World Championships marathon, topped the 2017 UK rankings with a slightly quicker 60:00 Scottish record in Japan.
Dewi Griffiths was a late withdrawal after his Welsh cross-country DNF last weekend and the other leading Briton should now be Jonny Mellor, who was overlooked for Commonwealth marathon selection despite his 2:12:57 in Berlin. GB cross country international Alex Teuten races as he targets the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.
The event incorporates the British Half Marathon Championships.
The overseas entry is headed by the 2017 London Marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru, who has a 59:20 PB, but also includes Tanzania’s Alphonce Simbu, who finished third in last summer’s World Championships marathon in London.
The women’s race is a domestic-only battle with Lily Partridge the favourite although Alyson Dixon, Charlotte Purdue, Sonia Samuels, Louise Small and Rebecca Murray are others who could be in the battle for victory and the British title.
In the elite men’s wheelchair race, London Marathon winner David Weir will renew his rivalry with Marcel Hug.
Hug’s Swiss compatriot Manuela Schar, the 2017 marathon winner and course record-holder, headlines the women’s wheelchair field.
The elite races start from 8:55. Highlights will be shown on BBC Two at 14:45 on Sunday during the coverage of the World Indoor Championships.
» Read about and watch a video as Mo Farah and Gary Lough discuss their new coaching partnership here
» Find an interview with David Weir, in which he discusses his “new lease of life”, here