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The supremely talented Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia will be demonstrating her fitness over the streets of NewcastleGateshead, England this Sunday, the 7th of September at the Bupa Great North Run, half-marathon. She will face the similarly gifted Edna Kiplagat of Kenya. The half-marathon distance is an excellent fitness indicator for the two athletes, who both seek autumn wins in the longer marathon, but look for Dibaba to prevail in both events.
While the 34-year-old Kiplagat looks to continue her marathon supremacy, Dibaba seeks to dominate the event after winning at the highest level over the shorter 5,000 and 10,000m distances.
Dibaba owns the 5,000m world record time of 14:11.15. The record has stood for six years as she set it in June of 2008 in Oslo, Norway. She has won 13 gold medals with five each in the IAAF World Cross Country and World Track and Field Championships as well as three in the Olympics. Her marathon debut took place during the 2014 Virgin London Marathon, where she won in 2:20:35; it was the third fastest debut in history.
Kiplagat is the reigning IAAF World Track and Field Champion in the marathon. She won gold both in 2011 and 2013. She holds a faster personal best time than Dibaba’s with her London winning time of 2:19:50 from the 2012 edition. She was a standout as a junior winning two 3,000m medals at the world junior championships.
During their latest head-to-head battle, at the 2013 London Marathon in April, Dibaba made a rookie mistake and dropped a bottle at the 30K mark. Kiplagat got away and ended up winning the race in the time of 2:20:21. Interestingly, the IAAF performance tables indicated that Dibaba, based on her half-marathon time, would finish the London Marathon in the time of 2:19:55, five seconds off of Kiplagat’s best, she finished 40 seconds off that time.
Dibaba won the 2013 edition of the Great North Run in the time of 66:55. Kiplagat’s best of the distance is nearly two minutes slower at 68:48.