The sixth annual edition of the Great North CityGames takes place on Gateshead quayside this Saturday (September 6th) as Britain’s finest track and field exponents do battle against their counterparts from across the globe on a purpose-built track and on the roads around the river Tyne.
Here are the key names to watch in the 10-event programme:
IPC 100m –
In the format’s sole IPC event, two star names of men’s Paralympic athletics will go head-to-head over 100m.
The USA’s Richard Browne – the Paralympic 100m silver medallist and 200m world record holder will face Britain’s T44 Paralympic, world and European 100m champion, Jonnie Peacock.
23-year-old Browne has the edge on this occasion, courtesy of a 10.94 season’s best whilst Peacock, 21, will be looking to improve his 11.05 2014 best.
Men’s 150m –
Following his 100m win in a swift 9.96 season’s best in Zurich at the end of last month, Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole starts as the red-hot favourite for glory here.
The 22-year-old Commonwealth 100m champion and world 4x100m relay gold medallist will go up against 38-year-old Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis – the evergreen sprinter who scorched to an impressive 9.96 national record in London back in July.
The 2003 world 100m champ and 2011 world bronze medallist will be chased by two young Britons – European 100m bronze medallist, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey – 26 – and 25-year-old world indoor 60m champion, Richard Kilty.
Women’s 150m –
Olympic and 2009 world 200m champion, Allyson Felix of the USA has notched up half-lap victories in Oslo, Ostrava and Stockholm in the 2014 campaign, but the 28-year-old will face Britain’s European 200m runner-up, Jodie Williams in this rarely-run event.
The 20-year-old has additionally claimed European 4x100m gold and Commonwealth 200m silver this season, therefore a tight contest is expected between the sprints duo.
Another member of the continental crown-winning relay squad in Zurich – Asha Philip – will be in action, as the 23-year-old Commonwealth 100m fourth placer is joined by a third Brit, Bianca Williams – the 20-year-old Commonwealth 200m bronze medallist who has enjoyed a big breakthrough this year.
Women’s 500m –
In a clever twist to the event, a women’s 500m distance has been introduce to offer an intriguing clash of 400m and 800m specialists.
In an all-British competition, world 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu is expected to lead the way, following the 30-year-old Olympic silver medallist’s recent one-lap win in Birmingham after placing a below-par fourth in the European Championships.
European 400m hurdles champion and Commonwealth runner-up, Eilidh Child – 27 – could well have the strength endurance to cause a surprise, as could 24-year-old Lynsey Sharp – the European and Commonwealth 800m silver medallist who sped to a 1:58.80 two-lap personal best in Zurich.
800m runners, Jenny Meadows and Alison Leonard also contest.
Men’s one mile (road) –
The men’s road mile features a fascinating duel between Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop and Bernard Lagat of the USA.
Kiprop – the 2013 and 2011 world 1500m champion – has taken the spoils in the metric mile in Doha, in the track mile in Birmingham and even over 800m in Paris this season, and the 25-year-old 2008 Olympic 1500m champion should win here.
Eager to continue his authority in this event, however will be three-time world indoor 3,000m victor, Lagat who at 39, claimed the two-mile road event in London back in July.
Another interesting entrant is Britain’s European under23 1500m silver medallist, Charlie Grice.
The 20-year-old will be keen to make amends for two falls in the European 1500m final and a seventh place finish in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July, and with a 3:35.59 metric mile lifetime best this season, he could still be in shape to cause a stir.
Women’s one mile (road) –
Another Kenyan – this time world 1500m bronze medallist, Hellen Obiri – is expected to emerge victorious in the women’s equivalent and the 24-year-old will be eager to rekindle the form which took her to a fine 3:57.05 personal best in Eugene in May.
British pair, Laura Weightman and Laura Muir have enjoyed numerous battles this summer and it is likely to be Weightman – the 23-year-old Commonwealth 1500m runner-up – who finishes on top this time around.
Following her recent European bronze medal, the north-East athlete will be ready to pounce buoyed by the local support, but Muir must not be written off – the European under23 bronze medallist has not enjoyed her best season but she ran a swift 4:00.07 1500 lifetime best to nip Weightman on the line in Paris in July.
Men’s 110m hurdles –
Following silver medals in the Commonwealth Games and European Championships, 29-year-old Will Sharman is arguably in form to beat a strong field.
The world fifth placer comes into the event with a 13.16 season’s and personal best, which should serve him well against the USA’s Aries Merritt and Cuba’s Dayron Robles – the 2012 and 2008 Olympic champions, respectively.
With his two rivals recently suffering from below-par shape, Sharman should have his own way in the race which will also represent Andy Turner’s last ever hurdles competition.
The 33-year-old 2010 European and Commonwealth champion reached the semi-final stage in Zurich and will hang up his racing spikes this Saturday afternoon.
Women’s 100m hurdles –
With a scorching 12.44 season’s best from her win in Paris in July and recent victory in Birmingham, the USA’s Dawn Harper-Nelson starts as the favourite in this event.
The 30-year-old Olympic silver medallist – and 2008 Olympic champion – will face her compatriots Brianna Rollins – the world champion and winner in Rome – and Nia Ali, the world indoor 60m hurdles winner.
Britain’s European champion and Commonwealth Games runner-up, Tiffany Porter will be keen to continue her fine form and the 26-year-old has the capabilities to sneak a second place here.
Men’s long jump –
Fresh from his Commonwealth and continental wins, Greg Rutherford looks set to add another victory to his 2014 campaign.
The 27-year-old Olympic champion – who leapt a shock 8.51m British record in April – will enjoy the British support and do battle with triple jump specialist, Christian Taylor of the USA.
The Olympic and 2011 world triple jump champion has a 8.09m season’s best, and the 24-year-old took the long jump honours in Birmingham.
Ignisious Gaisha of the Netherlands is another top entrant and the 31-year-old world silver medallist arrives off the back of a 8.13m win in Berlin last weekend.
Women’s pole vault –
Brazil’s Fabiana Murer has claimed the honours in New York, Glasgow, Monaco, London and Zurich this season and the 33-year-old 2011 world champion boasts a 4.80m season’s best.
Her nearest challenger in the north-East of England is likely to arrive in the form of the USA’s Olympic champion, Jenn Suhr.
The 32-year-old world runner-up has cleared a best of 4.71m this summer so a close battle could ensue between the pair.
Elsewhere on Sunday (September 7th), the roads between Newcastle and South Shields will welcome the world’s greatest half marathon at the 34th edition of the event.
Here are the key names to look out for in the 13.1-mile event:
Men’s race –
Triple Olympic, world and European 5,000m and 10,000m champion, Mo Farah is the overwhelming favourite to storm to victory.
The 31-year-old sped to a fine 8:07.85 two-mile European record on the track in Birmingham last month to prove he has recovered from his solid 2:08.21 marathon debut in London back in April.
With a 60:10 lifetime best recorded when finishing runner-up in the 2013 race, Farah should make light work on the slightly depleted field on this occasion.
Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich – the 25-year-old Olympic and world marathon champion – also competes as will Ethiopia’s Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist, Tariku Bekele.
Both have barely raced this year and Bekele failed to finish in Berlin last weekend, however so Farah’s British team-mate, Andy Vernon could well stand a chance of getting in the mix.
The 28-year-old has enjoyed a marked breakthrough this summer, with European 10,000m silver and 5,000m bronze behind his compatriot in Zurich in July, and other Brits to watch include Jonny Mellor and Jonny Hay.
Women’s race –
Ethiopia’s three-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time world champion over the 5,000m and 10,000m distances, Tirunesh Dibaba will be looking to add the top spot here to her victory in 2012.
The 28-year-old five-time world cross country champion finished third on her marathon debut with 2:20.35 in London and her last race was an impressive 31:09 win at the Bupa Great Manchester 10km in May.
Her challengers will arrive in the form of Olympic marathon champion, Tiki Gelana – the 26-year-old Ethiopian who placed ninth in London and Kenyan trio, Edna Kiplagat, Mary Keitany and Caroline Kilel.
Kiplagat – the 32-year-old 2013 and 2011 world marathon champion and 2014 London Marathon winner – will be joined by Keitany, the former world half marathon record-holder and Commonwealth marathon runner-up, Kilel.
Of the British women, 2012 world half marathon seventh placer, Gemma Steel could potentially crash the top five positions.
The 28-year-old 2013 European cross country silver medallist clocked a 31:27 10km lifetime best in the USA last month, and will have Commonwealth marathon sixth placer, Susan Partridge and European under23 cross country bronze medallist, Charlotte Purdue for company.