•The 2021 Diamond League trophy winner described the marathon as the perfect launchpad for budding talents in long distance races
•She will be the guest of honour at the Great Ethiopian Run International 10km on November 14 in Addis Ababa
•Dagmawit Amare, Great Ethiopian Run general manager, said she has raised the race's profile to another level
Double Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon says it is a dream-come-true to visit Ethiopia and meet two-time Olympic 10,000m champion Haile Gebreselassie.
Kipyegon will be the guest of honour at the Great Ethiopian Run International 10km on November 14 in Addis Ababa of which the four-time world 10,000m champion has been at the forefront of promoting.
"For many years, I have wanted to visit our neighbour Ethiopia. Haile had such a big impact on running in Ethiopia and Kenya and it is an honour for me to accept his invitation to this year's race," Kipyegon said.
The 2021 Diamond League trophy winner also lauded the idea behind the 20-year-old marathon, describing it as the perfect launchpad for budding talents in long distance races.
"I am also very happy to support the Great Ethiopian Run, which has inspired so many young athletes and is also helping people to lead a healthy lifestyle," she said.
The two Eastern African neighbours have enjoyed a longstanding rivalry in long-distance races, including 5000m, 10,000m, 3,000m steeplechase, cross country as well as the road races.
Kipyegon herself is familiar with the friendly rivalry having come up against the likes of 2015 World Cross Country silver medalist Senberi Teferi and 2015 World 1500m champion Genzebe Dibaba in previous competitions.
Gebreselassie, the four-time Berlin Marathon champion, had only last week expressed his desire to see Kenyans go head-to-head with Ethiopians in the country's capital.
"With Ethiopian Airlines, we are only just one hour away. I am inviting you to participate either physically or virtually to the greatest and most fun race in the world. Karibu sana to the Great Ethiopian Run," the former world record holder with a time of 2:03:59 said.
Speaking on Kipyegon's appearance at the marathon, Dagmawit Amare, Great Ethiopian Run general manager, said she has raised the race's profile to another level.
"As one of Kenya's greatest ever athletes with an amazing record of championship victories, Faith is well known to athletics fans in Ethiopia. It will be an honour to have her with us for the race," Amare said.
The Kenyan has enjoyed a stellar 2021 and has been nominated for World Athletics' female athlete of the year award.