The three-time Olympic gold medallist is due to race the 10km event in May

Tirunesh Dibaba is set to make her comeback at the Great Manchester Run on May 22.

The three-time Olympic gold medallist missed the 2015 season after giving birth to her son Nathan Sileshi in March of that year, and will make a return to competitive action in Manchester as she begins on her road to the Rio Olympics.

The Ethiopian won back-to-back gold medals in the 10,000m in Beijing and London and also claimed the 5000m title in 2008. She will look to defend her title over the longer distance this summer as she bids to become the first athlete to have won three gold medals over the 10,000m distance.

Victory in Manchester this May will give the 30-year-old another treble as she won the Great Manchester Run in 2013 and 2014.

Dibaba, whose 30:49 from 2013 is the women’s course record for the Great Manchester Run, is set to face competition from a fit-again Gemma Steel and fresh-legged Edna Kiplagat in the IAAF Golf Label race in the north-west.

Steel got an injury and illness-hit year back on track with victory in the BM10k earlier this month and aims to continue her return to form with a strong run in Manchester.

The 2014 European cross country champion has recovered from the foot injury and a chest infection which forced the 30-year-old to pull out of the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff last month.

This summer she is focusing her efforts on the half-marathon at the European Championships in Amsterdam in July, for which she believes Manchester will be a perfect stepping stone.

“It has been tough over the last couple of months, with the disappointment of missing the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff,” said Steel, who has won Great Run events in Ireland, Gateshead, Birmingham and Yorkshire in the past, and whose 10km PB of 31:26 from 2014 places her third on the UK all-time list behind Paula Radcliffe and Liz McColgan.

“I’m feeling a lot better, and my training is starting to pick up, so I’m getting back to where I need to be.

“There’s a lot of competition in Manchester but I always look forward to this event and it will be a good marker for how my preparations are going, with the European Championships half-marathon in Amsterdam high up on the agenda.”

Kenyan distance running legend Kiplagat, meanwhile, is waiting on news regarding her selection to the Kenyan Olympic marathon team.

The 2011 and 2013 world marathon champion finished third in the Tokyo Marathon in February, one of several races designated as Olympics trials by Kenya, and is set to learn her fate following this past weekend’s London Marathon.

“The goal is to be selected for the Olympics, and now I must wait having achieved a good result in Tokyo,” said the 36-year-old.

“There is plenty of competition among Kenyan marathon runners and I have done all I can.

“I always enjoy running the Great Manchester Run, and it will be a good test of my fitness and preparations, looking ahead to the Olympics.”

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