Gebrselassie and Bekele to face Farah at Bupa Great North Run

By (Follow on Twitter @ athleticsafrica)

Ethiopian distance superstars, and will face Briton, Somali-born, Mohammed ‘Mo’ Farah in South Shields at the 2013 Bupa Great North Run on Sunday, September 15.

The two former Olympic 10,000m champions and the reigning one will contest the same race for the first time ever.

Event founder Brendan Foster, in an announcement today, hailed this year’s line-up – the 33rd of the run – as ‘greatest head-to-head in half-marathon history’.

“No one could ask for a better ‘dream team’ to participate in their event and we are delighted they will feature in what has the makings of the greatest head to head in half marathon history,” said Foster.

“We’ve had many fantastic races down the Newcastle to South Shields course in past years, but this will be a competition everyone in the athletics world will want to watch.

“Haile may now be a veteran but he remains an accomplished performer and we should remember he won the Bupa Great North Run three years ago in a very impressive time of 59:33.”

Haile Gebrselassie, who missed last year’s race through injury, is looking forward to sparring with his younger rivals in the BBC televised event.

“I’m just delighted I am returning to the Bupa Great North Run,” said the ‘Emperor’, as he is affectionately known.

“I can still compete at the highest level and I look forward to giving both of them a run for their money.

“This is something special for everyone. It’s going to be a tough contest for all of us which I am sure will result in an exciting race.”

Farah, a relative newcomer to the half marathon distance said of his two more illustrious competitors:

“I competed in the mile and two mile events on Great North Run weekend in past years and am delighted to finally make my début in the main event,” said Farah.

“It is always one of the world’s top half marathon races and this year promises to be a great race with me against Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele.

 “I remember watching Haile win the 2000 Olympic Games in a sprint finish in Sydney when I was just 17 years old.”

“I have experience on the roads but this will be only my third half marathon race. I won in New York in 2011 and New Orleans earlier this year. I hope to make it a third win in the North East.”

, acknowledged as the best distance track and cross country runner in the history of athletics and along with Gebrselassie recognised as a genuine ‘legend’ in the sport, is looking forward to the transition to road running and this will be his first major test before stepping up to a full marathon.

“I started my international career when winning the Great North Cross Country in Newcastle over 10 years ago and I was grateful for that opportunity,” said Bekele, then a teenager.

“Now I’m looking forward to my half marathon debut. It’s not going to be easy for me as the others have more experience over the distance and yes, I am the newcomer just starting to pursue a serious road running career.

“But I’ll be coming to the race fully prepared and determined to give it my best shot against two great athletes.”