Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie is out of this Sunday’s Bupa Great South Run. Gebrselassie’s participation was seen as a massive boost for the event as it prepares to celebrate its 25th year.
This most recent setback comes shortly after the athlete was forced to quit the defence of his Bupa Great Scottish Run title earlier this month. The 41-year-old lasted just 19 minutes before retiring due to respiratory problems.
News of Gebrselassie’s withdrawal follows confirmation that Jo Pavey, the European Championship Gold medalist, will also be unable to compete. Despite their absence, a number of elite runners are still preparing for Sunday’s race, including Commonwealth Games marathon champion Michael Shelley.
The line-up for the elite men's field at the Great South Run also includes European 10,000m silver medallist Andy Vernon of Aldershot and Poole's Steve Way, who finished 10th in the Commonwealth Games marathon.
Up to 25,000 runners are expected to compete at Sunday’s event in a course that moves through Old Portsmouth, home of the Portsmouth Cathedral and Royal Garrison Church, before entering the Historic Dockyard.