One of the world’s greatest ever runners has confirmed he will be competing in Birmingham’s half marathon later this month.
Ethiopian superstar Haile Gebrselassie announced he would be taking part while visiting Soweto in South Africa, where he is doing charity work for the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Organisers of the inaugural Bupa Great Birmingham Run – formerly known as the EDF Birmingham Half Marathon – believe his participation will draw in thousands more spectators.
During his illustrious career, the 38-year-old athlete has won two Olympic golds, four World Championship titles and set 27 world records.
The 5ft 5in athlete is no stranger to Birmingham where in the past his electrifying appearances at the National Indoor Arena have seen him break the world 2,000m, two mile and 5,000m records.
The Birmingham race will be his first since he was forced to pull out of the Berlin Marathon last month with asthma.
Chairman of race organisers Nova International, Brendan Foster said: “To bring the greatest runner of all time, Haile Gebrselassie, to the first staging of the Bupa Great Birmingham Run will be fantastic.
“I know from his popularity there in the past, a big crowd will come out to support him. Personally I just can’t wait to see Haile running in Birmingham, which is a venue very special to him. He is the number one guy in our sport and to have him running in a city where he’s set world records in the past is fantastic. It would be great to see him win the race.”
Taking place on Sunday, October 23, the sell-out race has attracted 15,000 competitors including fun runners and world class athletes.