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Kiplagat ready to silence Dibaba in Newcastle's Great North run

29 August 2014, 09:36

Nairobi - There will be revenge in the air as Olympic 10,000m champion Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba locks horns with World Marathon Champion Edna Kiplagat in Newcastle on Sept. 7 during the Bupa Great North Run.

The two met twice in as many years, with each having one victory apiece. Dibaba beat Kiplagat over the Bupa Great North run in 2012 but the Kenyan got the better of her in London Marathon.

Now organisers of the meeting have confirmed that the two will lead a field of elite runners eyeing the title on Sept. 7.

"I have no worries ahead of the race. I have been training well and will be ready to face anybody, even Dibaba when we meet on Sept. 7," said Kiplagat Thursday from Eldoret.

Kiplagat, who ran her way into the record books in Moscow last summer as the first back to back winner of the World Championship women's marathon title, was beaten by Dibaba in a thrilling sprint .finish in the 2012 Bupa Great North Run.

The tables were turned in the London Marathon in April, though. After Dibaba dropped a bottle at the 30k drinks station, Kiplagat pulled clear with her compatriot and namesake Florence Kiplagat, winning the 26.2 mile race in a sprint finish.

Dibaba had to settle for third place in her debut marathon but returned to winning ways in the Bupa Great Manchester Run 10k in May.

The 28-year-old has not raced since then but is getting ready for what promises to be another gripping head-to-head with Kiplagat.

Dibaba has been a trailblazer in women's distance running for more than a decade now. She became the youngest ever individual world champion when she won the global 5,000m title as an 18-year- old at the Stade de France in Paris in 2003 -- earning the nickname "the baby faced assassin."

She became the first woman to complete an Olympic double at 5, 000m and 10,000m when she struck gold at both distances in Beijing in 2008.

In all, Dibaba has won three Olympic golds (she successfully defended her 10,000m crown at London 2012) and five world track titles.

She has held the world 5,000m record, 14 minutes 11.15 seconds, since 2008 and extended her range to the marathon in London on April 13, finishing third behind the two Kiplagats in 2 hours 20 minutes 35 seconds.

It made Dibaba the third fastest ever debutante as a women's marathon runner, behind Britain's Paula Radcliffe and Kenya's Lucy Kabuu.

She would have undoubtedly been faster had she not lost touch with the Kiplagats after dropping her drink bottle. "I will definitely do another marathon," said Dibaba.

But with Kiplagat's focus firmly on the New York Marathon, winning the 10km run in Newcastle will spur her quest for the World Marathon Majors, which comes down to the wire in the streets of New York, where she is neck-to-neck with compatriot Prisca Jeptoo.

Only four women have won the elite women's races at the Bupa Great North Run and the London Marathon in the same year: Liz McColgan (who was the first to achieve the feat, back in 1996), Joyce Chepchumba (1999), Paula Radcliffe (2003) and Priscah Jeptoo (2013).

There is another major threat, however, in the elite women's field for the prestigious IAAF Gold Label event: Mary Keitany, the 32-year-old Kenyan won the London Marathon in 2011 and 2012 and stands third on the world all-time list for the marathon.

Only Britain's Paula Radcliffe and Liliya Shobukhova of Russia have run faster than the 2 hours 18 minutes 38 seconds that Keitany clocked in the 2012 London race.

Keitany is also a former world record holder for the half marathon. The 1 hour 05 minutes 50 seconds that she recorded for 13.1 miles in the Ras Al Khaimah event in the United Arab Emirates in February 2011 stood until February of this year, when Florence Kiplagat clocked 1:05:12 in Barcelona.

The elite men's race for the 2014 Bupa Great North Run has attracted Mo Farah, the Briton who holds the world, Olympic and European 5,000m and 10,000m titles, and Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich, the reigning world and Olympic marathon champion.

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