Olympic champion to take on Mary Keitany, Betsy Saina and Jo Pavey on Tyneside

Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot is to return to Tyneside to defend her Simplyhealth Great North Run title on September 10.

The four-time Olympic and five-time world medallist won the world’s biggest half-marathon on her debut over the distance a year ago, but will once again face stiff opposition with all-women’s marathon world record-holder Mary Keitany and Great Britain’s Jo Pavey already announced in the field.

Cheruiyot took victory ahead of fellow Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo in a thrilling finale on the South Shields coast a year ago, with three-time Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba third.

“I’m looking forward to returning to England for this race,” said Cheruiyot, who turns 34 the day after the Simplyhealth Great North Run. “It was perfect to win there last year, and even better if I can win two in a row. There will be some tough competition on the day.”

As well as Pavey and Keitany, Cheruiyot will be up against Betsy Saina. The Kenyan 29-year-old tasted victory on British soil when she won last October’s Great Scottish Run half-marathon, and the distance runner, who placed fifth in the 10,000m at last year’s Olympics in Rio, is looking forward to her return.

She said: “I love competing in the UK and I’m really excited to be coming back to take on the Great North Run. Some of the world’s best runners are going to be racing here and I hope to be among them.

“I have heard great things about this event so it is something to look forward to.”

The Simplyhealth Great North Run will be broadcast live on BBC One HD from 9.30am until 1.30pm.

For more information, visit greatrun.org/north