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Athletics - 18. November 2009.

World’s best heading to Melbourne


The 2009 Great Australian Run will boast the world’s best male and female marathon runners of 2009, now that German star Irina Mikitenko has been added to the stellar line up to contest the 15km event around the streets of Melbourne on November 29.

Taking out the 2008 and 2009 London Marathons, the 37-year-old became the fourth fastest female marathon runner in history when she clocked 2:19:19 to win the Berlin Marathon in 2008.


Placing second at the 2009 Chicago Marathon last month, the former Kazakhstan athlete will arrive in Melbourne in top form, ready to battle Olympic bronze medallist Deena Kastor of the USA and Australia’s best including our No 1 distance runner Benita Willis (formerly Johnson), the 2004 world cross country champion.


“I will not be thinking of times but rather concentrating on a great competition with the other girls. I have great respect for both my competitors who have impressive achievements in running. It will be an exciting race,” said Mikitenko.


The Great Australian Run will mark Mikitenko’s second visit to our shores, her first being in Sydney for the 2000 Olympic Games, where she finished fifth in the final of the 5000 metres.

“Out of my three Olympic Games, the best was the one in Sydney. I am looking forward to returning to Australia and hoping for a similar atmosphere at the Great Australian Run.”

The once in a life time opportunity to run with the world’s best athletes and thousands of pavement pounders has also enticed a number of our well known sporting and entertainment stars to run for fun.


Jogging amongst the thousands of runners and walkers of all abilities behind the elites will be none other than Olympic 400m champion Cathy Freeman, three-time Olympian Lee Troop and world championships bronze medallist Craig Mottram.


V8 Supercar drivers Rick Kelly and Paul Dumbrell, jockey Chris Symons, Triple M’s Hot Breakfast Mieke Buchan, Foxtel Olympic presenter Tiffany Cherry and Neighbours star ‘‘Toadie’ will all be pulling on the runners and swimming superstar Ian Thorpe will sound the hooter to set them all off on their way.


The race will be broadcast LIVE on Network Ten and ONE around the nation from 8.30am on race day.


Entries are still open – visit www.greataustralianrun.com.au


Female Olympians participating in the 2009 Great Australian Run




Irina Mikitenko (GER)

Three-time Olympian, two-time World Marathon Majors winner

Deena Kastor (USA)

2004 Athens Olympic marathon bronze medallist

Benita Willis (AUS)

Three-time Olympian, 2004 world cross country champion

Helen Clitheroe (GBR)

Two-time Olympian

Nina Rillstone (NZL)

2008 Olympian

Cathy Freeman (AUS)

2000 Olympic 400m champion




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