Zersenay Tadese will start as favourite to retain his IAAF World Half Marathon title when the annual meeting takes place in Birmingham on October 11.

The Eritrean has dominated the global event since winning the now discontinued World Road Running Championships over 20 kilometres in Debrecen three years ago.

Tadese followed up that success with two consecutive victories in Udine and Rio Janeiro when the race reverted to being contested over the half marathon distance.

The 27-year-old former world cross country champion is the holder of the fastest ever time on British soil, having clocked 59 minutes 05 seconds to win the 2005 Bupa Great North Run.

Kenya’s Sammy Kitwara, who won the Rotterdam half Marathon in 58min 58sec – the second fastest time this year – is likely to be among Tadese’s main challengers.

The World Half Marathon is the fifth and final IAAF World Athletics Series competition of 2009, and with a generous prize list, will bring together many of the world’s best road runners.

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