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Uganda's Ayeko looking for a double

ON THE RUN: Thomas Ayeko (left) runs alongside Moses Kipsiro in Moscow

MARATHON MAN Thomas Ayeko will have to beat one of the stars of Glasgow 2014 if he is to successfully defend the elite men’s title in the Bupa Great Birmingham Run on October 19.

The 22-year-old Ugandan was a convincing winner of the popular half marathon in England’s second city last year, finishing 31 seconds clear of home hope Chris Thompson in 62 minutes 32 seconds.

Twelve months on, Ayeko has to contend with Josphat Bett, the 24-year-old Kenyan who was in the thick of the dramatic sprint finish to the 10,000m final in Glasgow on the first day of August.

The 2008 world junior champion at the distance, Bett was involved in a gripping three-way battle for the gold up the home straight at Hampden Park.

Canadian Cam Levins, a training partner of Farah, burst into the lead off the final bend but then Bett squeezed past him on the inside in the closing stages and celebrated victory as he crossed the line – unaware that he had been pipped by Moses Kipsiro of Uganda.

It was an even closer call that the classic 10,000m battle between Haile Gebrselassie and Paul Tergat at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. On that occasion, Gebrselassie prevailed by 0.09sec. In Glasgow, Kipsiro retained his title by a mere 0.03sec – more than three times the winning margin between Kemar Bailey Cole of Jamaica and England’s Adam Gemili in the men’s 100m final (0.10sec).

Bett will no doubt have a point to prove in his first race back on British soil. He has since finished third in the10,000m at the African Championships in Marrakesh in August and fourth in the Dam tot Damloop ten mile race in Amsterdam last month.

Ayeko, who finished fifth in the 5,000m final at the African Championships, will also face Bett’s younger brother, Emmanuel, winner of the 2013 Bupa Great South Run ten mile race, South Africa’s Elroy Gelant, Abdellatif Meftah of France and Kenyans Joel Kimutai and Kevin Kochei.

The British challenge will be led by two members of England’s 2014 Commonwealth Games team: steeplechaser Luke Gunn and marathon man Steve Way.

The elite women’s race features a return to British shores for Linet Masai, the 24-year-old Kenyan who won the 2009 World Championship 10,000m title in Berlin while still a teenager. She won the women’s section of the Dam to Damloop ten miler last month, beating Olympic champion Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia by 48 sec in 53:57.

The field also includes newly crowned European marathon champion Christelle Daunay of France, Kenya’s 2010 Commonwealth Games 10,000m silver medallist Doris Changeiywo, 2013 Great South Run runner-up Polline Maniku of Kenya and Portugal’s former European 10,000m champion Ana Dulce Felix.

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