/ Athletics

Phoenix Park is hosting the Spar Great Ireland Run this Sunday

Updated: Friday, 12 Apr 2013 16:40 | Comments

Kenenisa Bekele approaches the finish line last year
Kenenisa Bekele approaches the finish line last year

The Spar Great Ireland Run takes place on Sunday in the Phoenix Park with Kenenisa Bekele the star attraction.

Ethiopian Bekele is the defending champion and course record holder, but also a triple Olympic gold-medallist and world record holder at 5,000 and 10,000 metres.

There will be over 10,000 runners at the Phoneix Park, with Ireland’s finest runners, celebrities, politicians and children hitting the roads of the park at various distances.

Bekele will be strongly challenged by his compatriot and current world 10,000 metre champion Ibrahim Jeilan. Both men are seeking places on their national team for the World Championships in Moscow in August and will face each other again at the Ethiopian trial race in the USA next month.

Also in the field will be Australian Collis Birmingham, who broke up African dominance by finishing eighth in last month’s World Cross Country Championships. Moroccan marathon star Abderrahime Bouramdane, nine times European cross-country champion Sergiy Lebid from Ukraine and marathoner Urige Buta from Norway also line up.

The home challenge will be led by national cross-country champion Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers, alongside Stephen Scullion from Belfast and Sean Hehir from Rathfarnham.

Gemma Steel of Great Britain will defend her title against Irish gold medal winning European cross country team member and defending national champion Linda Byrne.

Both will be pushed hard by Spanish number one Diana Martin, British Olympian Julia Bleasdale and Italy’s Elana Romagnolo.

Fionnuala Britton was forced to pull out due to fatigue.

A new race, the Spar Great Ireland Mile, has been added to the event programme this year.

The mile will feature 15 top runners from Ireland and Britain including the fastest man in Ireland over 1500 metres last year, Paul Robinson of St Coca’s AC.

Also in the field will be Colin Costello, former European Junior 1500 metre champion, former European 1500 metre silver medallist from Great Britain Anthony Whitehead, Ireland’s top under 23 Darren McBrearty from Letterkenny, Britain's Nick Samuels and Eoin Everard from Kilkenny.

The Run gets under way at 1.10pm (elite women) and 1.30pm (men). It will be preceded by the Spar Junior Run at 11:30, the SPAR Great Ireland Mile at 12:20, and the Spar Mini Run at 12:30.

Live television coverage of the SPAR Great Ireland Run from 12.55 on Sunday 14 April on RTÉ Two (Worldwide).

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