Olympic track champion will look to become only the third man to win the half-marathon event two years in a row
Mo Farah is set to return to Tyneside to defend his title at the Morrisons Great North Run half-marathon on September 13.
At last year’s event the double Olympic, world and European track champion ran a what was then British best of 60:00 to see him become the first British man to win the race since 1985 as he beat Mike Kigen in a sprint finish – the Kenyan clocking the same time.
Farah, who is due to defend both his 5000m and 10,000m world titles in Beijing later this month, has since run 59:32 for 13.1 miles – a European record – in Lisbon.
The 32-year-old will look to become only the third man to successfully defend his title. Local hero Mike McLeod, the 1984 Olympic 10,000m silver medallist, won the first two editions of the IAAF Gold Label event in 1981 and 1982, while the late Benson Masya of Kenya also achieved back-to-back victories in 1991 and 1992.
It will be the third time Farah will have run the event, the Briton having suffered a surprise defeat to Kenenisa Bekele on his debut in 2013.
Among his rivals this year will be the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon runner-up Stanley Biwott of Kenya, South Africa’s 2014 Great Scottish Run winner Stephen Mokoka, Pan American Games 5000m champion Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico and Japan’s Masato Kikuchi, who finished 18th in last year’s World Half Marathon Championships.
The day before he defends his title, Farah plans to jog around the course in the Morrisons Great North 5k event and then act as official starter for the Mini Great North Run.
Mary Keitany has already been announced for the defence of her Great North Run title, the Kenyan having broken Paula Radcliffe’s course record by a second when winning last year’s event in 65:39. She is due to face the likes of Ethiopia’s Tigist Tufa, who prevented Keitany from completing a hat-trick of London Marathon victories earlier this year, as well as Kenya’s Olympic marathon silver medallist and 2013 Great North Run winner Priscah Jeptoo and Britain’s Gemma Steel, who finished as runner-up to Keitany last year.
Britain’s six-time Paralympic champion David Weir is set to go for a record-equalling sixth men’s wheelchair victory and will face the likes of Canada’s Josh Cassidy, while American Amanda McGrory, who holds the women’s wheelchair course record, will also be back and on the hunt for a second victory.
» For more on the Morrisons Great North Run see greatrun.org