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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 20 October, 2018
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The Great Ireland Run, featuring world champs, Bressie and our boy Leo

We hear Minister Varadkar is planning to slipstream Kenenisa Bekele on the final straight.

A FIELD OF more than 10,000 adults and children will take part in the Mini, Junior, Mile and 10km Great Ireland Runs at the Phoenix Park this Sunday.

Favourite in the men’s 10km race is Kenenisa Bekele, the defending champion and course record holder, triple Olympic gold-medallist and world record holder at 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres.

Not too shabby. However, our money is on Minister for Sport, Leo Varadkar TD, who has signed on and, rumour has it, stretching his calf muscles with a steely grimace in the vicinity of the Dáil.

‘Leo’s doing what now?’ Bekele looks worried. (©INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan)

If Minister Varadkar, last seen [sportingly] taking part in Hell and Back trials in February, fails to keep pace with the impressive Bekele, former Leinster rugby player and The Voice talent-spotter Niall ‘Bressie’ Breslin can take up the challenge.

The midfield battle for supremacy will, no doubt, feature Keith Barry, Matt Cooper, Brian Kennedy and Keith Duffy.

Bekele will be strongly challenged by his Ethiopian 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.

Elite women

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.

Two other faces to look out, and cheer, for on the day include Irish Olympic Silver Medallist Sonia O’Sullivan and television host Grainne Seoige.

Our money is on the serious-looking chap, Ibrahim Jeilan. (©INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan)

RTE Two television will broadcast the run, sponsored by SPAR Ireland, live in a special programme.

Personal late entries for the event will be accepted at Life Style Sports in Blanchardstown on today (until 7 pm) and Saturday, 13 April (10am to 4 pm) subject to availability.

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Patrick McCarry

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