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Weekend preview: Great North Run and 5th Avenue Mile

With two stacked elite fields, it'll be an exciting weekend of racing no matter which side of the Atlantic you're on

The temperatures are cooling down and the road racing season is heating up, starting this weekend with two storied events: the Great North Run in Newcastle, U.K., and the 5th Avenue Mile in New York City. Both runs will feature some of the world’s top athletes, so running fans everywhere will have a lot to keep up with. Here’s who to look out for this weekend.


RELATED: Brigid Kosgei sets course record at Great North Run

The Great North Run

This half-marathon in the U.K. has attracted top road racing talent for many years, and this year will be no different. On the women’s side, all eyes will be on Hellen Obiri, the world 5,000m champion from Kenya, and surprise bronze-medal winner at the Tokyo Olympic marathon, American Molly SeidelObiri was third in the Istanbul Half-Marathon in April in 64:51, making her the strong favourite for the win. Seidel was spectacular in Tokyo, but is currently training for the New York Marathon in November, so she might not be as well tapered as if this were her goal race for the season.

Canada’s half-marathon record-holder, Andrea Seccafien, will also be in the mix, and her PB of 69:38 from February 2020 puts her in strong contention for a podium finish. The U.K.’s Eilish McColgan and Charlotte Purdue will also be looking to represent their country well on home soil. Purdue is currently ranked third in the U.K.’s all-time women’s half-marathon rankings behind McColgan’s mother, Liz McColgan and former world marathon record-holder, Paula Radcliffe. (This will be Eilish McColgan’s half-marathon debut.)

On the men’s side, this will be the first year since 2013 that we won’t see Mo Farah on top of the podium after he won the race every year from 2014-2019. Olympic marathon bronze medallist Bashir Abdi of Belgium, one of Farah’s training partners, is among the favourites for the win, alongside Farah’s former training partner Galen Rupp. Australian track star Stewart McSweyn is also on the start list, but this will be his first foray over 10K, making him a bit of a wild card for Sunday’s race. Ed Cheserek of Kenya (famously known as King Cheserek in NCAA circles) will also be making his half-marathon debut, and anyone who followed his stunning college career will no doubt be curious to see what he does over the longer distance.

For full event details, click here.


The 5th Avenue Mile

The elite field at the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile is stacked, featuring 15 Tokyo Olympians, three Olympic medallists and two past event champions. 2016 Olympic gold medallist in the 1,500m, Matthew Centrowitz, will face off over 20 New York city blocks against 5,000m Tokyo bronze medallist Paul Chelimo, but they won’t be alone. Clayton Murphy, the 800m bronze medallist at the 2016 Olympics and 2018 event champion Jake Wightman will be chasing them down, along with several other Olympians including Adel Mechaal, Joe Klecker, Mason Ferlic and Hillary Bor. Canada’s Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, who’s been having a stellar 2021 season, and 2021 Guardian Mile champion Johnny Gregorek will also be challenging for the win.

RELATED: Charles Philibert-Thiboutot sets event record at Falmouth Elite Mile

There are no returning event champions on the women’s side, but recent Downtown Yakima Mile winner Nikki Hiltz, 2021 USATF Road Mile Championships runner-up Shannon Osika, British indoor 800m and mile record holder and Olympian Jemma Reekie and European indoor championships gold medallist and 2021 Falmouth Elite Mile champion Amy-Eloise Markovic will all be contenders. Canada’s Julie-Anne Staehli and Canadian national record-holder Kate Van Buskirk will also be testing their speed on the city streets.

For full event details, click here.