Tirunesh Dibaba, the reigning world and Olympic champion at 10,000m, has confirmed she will defend her title at the Bupa Great Manchester Run on Sunday 18 May. Dibaba, also known as the Baby-Faced Destroyer, recorded a storming debut performance at the event last year, setting a course record of 30:49 on her way to victory.
The 28-year-old Ethiopian has been one of the leading figures in women’s distance running since becoming the 5,000m world champion in 2003. Since then, she has secured three Olympic gold medals and five world track titles; indeed, her last defeat on the track was in November 2002.
Dibaba has been in fine form this year, taking third place at the London Marathon in 2:20:35; the third fastest debut by a female athlete over the distance. Peter Riley, the elite manager for the event, feels this bodes well for her participation at Manchester: "Tiunesh ran a fantastic marathon debut in London and she's recovered well. It will be interesting to see what she does in Manchester. Last year she came and sat in with the others until halfway and still broke the course record."
While there will be no rematch with Priscah Jeptoo, Dibaba will come up against strong competition in the face of Britain’s Gemma Steel, Sophie Duarte of France and Portugal’s Sara Moreira. The men’s competition is looking similarly impressive, with Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang, holder of the world marathon record and winner of this year’s London Marathon, facing Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, holder of the world records at 5,000m and 10,000m -
The race, first held in 2003 when 10,000 competitors took part, is now Europe’s largest 10k; up to 40,000 runners are expected to turn out on 18 May. For more information and to register, visit the event website.