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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019

Legendary distance runner Kenenisa Bekele to race in Dublin this April

The double Olympic champion will compete in the SPAR Great Ireland Run in the Phoenix Park on 15 April.

Image: Michael Sohn/AP/Press Association Images

KENENISA BEKELE, THE reigning 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic champion, will race in Dublin later this year as part of his preparations for London 2012.

The legendary Ethiopian distance runner will compete in the SPAR Great Ireland Run in the Phoenix Park on 15 April, race organisers confirmed today.

Bekele, 29, has struggled with a series of injuries since winning 5,000m and 10,000m gold on the track at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. He failed to finish the defence of his world 10,000m crown last summer in Daegu and later withdrew from the 5,000m race.

Bekele disappointed again on his return to racing last month when he struggled and finished a distant 11th in the Great Edinburgh Cross Country, but promised afterwards that he will be at his peak again in time for London.

The decision to switch to road racing could hint at Bekele’s plans for the future beyond this summer’s Olympics. Some of the world’s great distance runners, including Haile Gebrselassie and Paul Tergat, have opted in the past to switch to the marathon in the latter stages of their career.

Bekele raced in Dublin at the World Cross Country Championships in 2002 when he made history by becoming the first and only male athlete to win both the long course and short course races in the same year.

Race organiser Brendan Foster, bronze medallist at the Montreal Games in 1976, promised a high standard of opposition for Bekele when he touches down in Dublin.

“Everyone, particularly Mo Farah and other Olympic rivals for a gold medal in either the 5,000m or 1,0000m, will be watching closely how he performs in the Phoenix Park after his Edinburgh setback,” Foster said.

This will be a very important race for Kenenisa and a good field is being pulled together to give him a real test. 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.

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Niall Kelly

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