Dibaba Defends BUPA Great Manchester Run Title, release from Nova International




Tirunesh Dibaba, photo by PhotoRun.net

Tirunesh Dibaba, the reigning world and Olympic champion at 10,000m, is returning to the North West of England to defend her title in the Bupa Great Manchester Run on Sunday 18 May.

The 28-year-old Ethiopian, who goes by the name of the 'baby faced assassin,' shot down the course record on her first appearance in Europe's biggest 10km road race last year, and has her sights on the Manchester race once again following her impressive marathon debut in London the weekend before last.

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.  The 5ft 1in phenomenon 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 13 April, finishing third behind Kenyans Edna Kiplagat and Florence Kiplagat 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 bottle at the 30km drinks station. "I am going back to the track this summer, but I will definitely do another marathon," she said.

The Bupa Great Manchester Run will be a stepping stone to that summer track season for Dibaba, who has never lost a 10,000m race on the track and whose last defeat at the distance on the road dates back to November 2002, when she finished runner up to Werknesh Kidane in the second Great Ethiopian Run. She was a 17-year-old junior at the time.

"Tirunesh ran a fantastic marathon debut in London and she's recovered well," said Peter Riley, elite athlete manager for the Bupa Great Manchester Run. "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."

Twelve months ago Dibaba was content to reach 5km in a relatively sedate 15 minutes 40 seconds before putting her foot on the accelerator and finishing out of sight of the rest of the field in 30:49 - 18 seconds inside the course record held by her compatriot Berhane Adere.

Sadly, there will be no rematch for Dibaba with Priscah Jeptoo, who beat her in the Bupa Great North Run half marathon on Tyneside last September.  The Kenyan suffered a stress fracture in the London Marathon and has withdrawn from the prestigious IAAF Gold Label event.

Still, the elite women's line up includes some of Europe's leading lights: Italy's Valeria Stranio, the marathon silver medallist at the World Championships in Moscow last summer;  Sophie Duarte of France and Britain's Gemma Steel, who finished first and second in the European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade last December;  Portugal's Sara Moreira, who has won silver and bronze at 5,000m at the last two European track championships; and Christelle Daunay of France, who finished third last year, behind Dibaba and Latvia's Jelena Prokopcuka.

Established in 2003 as a legacy event for the Manchester Commonwealth Games of the previous year, the Bupa Great Manchester Run has attracted an equally impressive field for the elite men's race this year.  Kenya's Wilson Kipsang, holder of the world marathon record and winner of this year's London Marathon, faces Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, holder of the world records at 5,000m and 10,000m and a winning marathon debutant in Paris on 6 April.

For further information and online entries to the Bupa Great Manchester Run, visitwww.greatrun.org/manchester


Nova International 
The Bupa Great Manchester Run is brought to you by a partnership between Manchester City Council and event organisers Nova International and is sponsored by Bupa. 

Nova International, headed by Olympic medallist Brendan Foster, is one of the UK's leading event management and sports marketing agencies. The company's current brand portfolio also includes some of the biggest running events in the world, all based on the Bupa Great North Run, Britain's biggest running event with 56,000 entries.

Nova International was established in 1988 and has a strong sporting pedigree. Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Nova has established itself as a market leader in the world of sports marketing and event management. 

For more information please visit www.greatrun.org
To apply for media accreditation visit www.greatrun.org/mediaaccreditation

About Bupa 
Bupa's purpose is longer, healthier, happier lives.

As a leading international healthcare group, we offer health insurance and medical subscription products, run care homes, retirement villages, hospitals, primary care centres and dental clinics. We also provide workplace health services, home healthcare, health assessments and long-term condition management services.

We have over 22m customers in 190 countries. With no shareholders, we invest our profits to provide more and better healthcare and fulfil our purpose. 

We employ more than 70,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, New Zealand andChile, as well as Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, and the USA.

For more information, visit www.bupa.com.

As a city that lives and breathes sport, Manchester continues to strengthen its impressive reputation for attracting major international sports championships.  In 2012, the City was named 5th in the Ultimate Sports City List, and No.1 city with a population of under one million.  In 2014 Manchester will host several major sports events, including the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup, Super League Magic Weekend and the Sainsbury's 2014 School Games.  These events help to raise the city's global sporting profile, whilst bringing long-term social and economic benefits to Manchester and its residents. The City's excellent range of accessible sports venues and facilities, combined with its school and community sports development programmes, provide the springboard for Manchester's sporting stars of the future.
Visit www.manchester.gov.uk for more information.

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