The multiple world-record holder on the track rarely runs on the roads.
On a jam-packed weekend of road racing led by the Boston, Paris and Rotterdam Marathons, three-time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele should draw some attention to Sunday’s SPAR Great Ireland Run 10K in Dublin.
Bekele, 29, rarely runs on the roads. He’s run only two road 10K’s in his career: 28:54 at La Courneuve in France in 2001 (7th place), and 28:50 in Scicli in Italy in 2003 (first). His most recent road race was a 15K in the Netherlands back in 2008, and he has only raced once so far this year: placing 11th at a cross country race in Scotland last January.
Challenging Bekele on the two-loop course in Phoenix Park will be Spaniards Jesus España, the defending race champion and 2010 European Championships silver medalist at 5000m, and Ayad Lamdassem, the 2010 and 2011 European Cross Country Championships silver medalist. Other top entrants include Italy’s Daniele Meucci, the 2010 European Championships 5000m bronze medalist; Ireland’s Mark Kenneally, a likely pick for the Irish team for the 2012 Olympic Marathon; and Britain’s Nick McCormick, the fifth place finisher at the 2006 Commonwealth Games 1500m.
Britain’s Hellen Clitheroe leads the women’s entry list. The 2011 European Indoor Championships 3000m gold medalist will battle Ireland’s Linda Byrne, compatriot Charlotte Purdue (the defending champion), France’s Christelle Daunay, and Italy’s Rosaria Console.
The course records are 28:35 by Australia’s Craig Mottram and 31:41 by Ethiopia’s Meselech Melkamu. In last year’s event –which recorded 7960 finishers– winners España and Purdue clocked 29:26 and 32:42, respectively.
The SPAR Great Ireland Run is organized by Nova International, the organizer of Britain’s popular Great Run series, including the world’s second largest half-marathon, the Bupa Great North Run.