JO Pavey is tipping Olympic 10,000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba to make an instant impact when she makes her half-marathon debut in tomorrow's Bupa Great North Run.
Dibaba claimed her third Olympic title when she triumphed in London earlier this summer, but is ready to switch her attention from the track to the road.
She will start as one of the favourites for tomorrow's 13.1mile trek from Newcastle to South Shields despite the presence of Olympic marathon champion Tiki Gelana and reigning world champion Edna Kiplagat in a high-class field.
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“I think Dibaba, just as Paula Radcliffe and other top track runners have done, will find it fairly easy to move up and her debut over the distance will see a very good performance from her,” said Pavey, who was the leading European finisher in both the Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m finals, finishing seventh in each event.
“Now Dibaba is turning her attention seriously to road running, I think we can expect something very special from her.
“I'm sure she will have been training specifically to make a point to everyone and produce a fast time, and will make it a hard task for every one of us taking part.”
Pavey finished fourth in last year's Great North Run, although her training schedule was interrupted by the birth of her son, Jacob.
“I'm determined to give this my best shot, particularly as I was disappointed after last year's race, although really I was just making a comeback,” she said. “I had a couple of days off following the Olympics, but I've been back in full-time training for the Great North Run and my first marathon this year, which will be in Yokohama in a few months' time.”
Cumbrian Chris Thompson is expected to be the leading British performer in the men's race, although Hexham's Nick McCormick will hope to have something to say about that as he competes in his first half-marathon.
An east African victory is likely, with London Marathon winner Wilson Kipsang leading a strong Kenyan contingent that also features Micah Kogo, Titus Mbishei and Emmanuel Bett. Ethiopia's Imane Merga should also feature strongly, along with Yared Asmeron of Eritrea.