UK middle distance runner Jo Pavey will face top Africans Berhane Adere and Susan Chepkemei when she makes her half-marathon debut in next month’s BUPA Great North Run.
Adere, a former world half-marathon champion, and Chepkemei, the world’s second-fastest performer over the distance, are the first top women confirmed for the Tyneside race on October 1.
“My priority now is getting in the mileage,” said Pavey who last Sunday finished a very close second to Adere over five kilometres at the Hydro Active Women’s Challenge in London.
Pavey, who ultimately is considering a marathon career, added: “It’s quite daunting stepping up to the longer distances and I know I need to build-up my leg muscle strength.
“I’m also aware I must get in plenty of hill work, which was a weakness last weekend. I need a wake-up to cope with them and I’ve already started doing that when training in Richmond Park.
“Obviously it is going to be a tough field and most of the other runners are going to be far more experienced. But I’m looking forward to the career change.”
Adere, despite her pedigree of being one of the world’s best and most consistent distance runners, has still to claim the GNR title after four appearances.
The 33-year-old Ethiopian’s highest placing came three years ago, when she set what remains a personal best time of 67 minutes 32 seconds, but well behind Paula Radcliffe.