The Ethiopian celebrates after winning World Championship gold in Moscow last year (©GettyImages)
The Ethiopian celebrates after winning World Championship gold in Moscow last year (©GettyImages).

Tirunesh Dibaba will defend Great Manchester Run title

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Ethiopian great Tirunesh Dibaba will return to the roads to defend her Great Manchester Run title.

Dibaba, who made her marathon debut in London this year, will return to the streets of Manchester to defend the title she won last year, reports Athletics Weekly.

The current World and Olympic champion for the 10,000m set a course record of 30:49 on her way to winning the 10km course in last year's Run.

She will definitely be one of the favourites for this year's crown, too. She made an impressive debut in London earlier in the month, clocking the third fastest debut time by a female ever (2:20.35), and will relish the step down to her preferred distance.

Peter Riley, elite athlete manager for the Bupa Great Manchester Run, is looking forward to seeing Dibaba in action: "Tirunesh ran a fantastic marathon debut in London and she's recovered well," he said.

"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."

Her chances of retaining the title have been made easier by the news that Priscah Jeptoo has been ruled out following a stress fracture sustained in the London Marathon. The Kenyan is a silver medallist in both the World and Olympic marathons and would have provided stiff competition for Dibaba.

In the men's event, the frontrunners are expected to be marathon world record-holder Wilson Kipsang and the10,000m track record-holder, Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele.

The event is Europe's biggest 10km event and forms one part of a weekend of athletics in Manchester, taking place the day after the BT Great CityGames. The events fall on the weekend of May 17/18.

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