Bekele to take part in SPAR Great Ireland Run

Reigning Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion Kenenisa Bekele will compete in the SPAR Great Ireland Run in Dublin on Sunday 15 April.

The world's greatest ever cross country and track distance runner - who also won Olympic 10,000m gold in 2004 - will return to the city of one of his greatest achievements, where, ten years ago, he became the first and only male athlete ever to lift the IAAF World Cross Country long and short course titles in the same year with two magnificent performances at Leopardstown racecourse, a double feat he went on to repeat on a further four occasions.

Former Olympic medallist Brendan Foster is one of many highly respected followers of the sport who has always expected Bekele to follow in the footsteps of fellow Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie and Kenya's Paul Tergat. The pair, after illustrious cross country and track careers, successfully made the switch to world class road running and became world marathon record holders with incredible best times of 2:03:59 and 2:04:55 respectively.

"I was delighted when Bekele's agent rang me and asked whether we could find a slot for him in the SPAR Great Ireland Run," said Foster, whose company Nova International organise the event. "There was no way I was going to say 'no' to such an outstanding legend.

"We have had some really big names grace this event since the inaugural Dublin race in 2003, and now to have Bekele taking part in a race which has grown in stature year on year is a compliment to its reputation and quality and I know from speaking with his manager that he is determined to prove his shape after a setback at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country in January."

"This will be a very important race for Kenenisa and a good field is being pulled together to give him a real test," continued Foster. "He's raced sparingly on the roads in the past so I'm certain it will also be important in his plans to move his career into a different direction after the London Games, and I’m sure everyone, particularly Mo Farah and other Olympic rivals for a gold medal in either the 5000m or 10000m, will be watching closely to see how he performs in Phoenix Park."

Bekele's appearance adds to the recognition of the SPAR Great Ireland Run which this year has been upgraded to IAAF silver medal status.

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For more information on the SPAR Great Ireland Run, including entry information, check out: