Competition for McColgan
Challenging McColgan in the women’s race will be reigning champion Charlotte Purdue, who secured her third win at The Big Half last year and set a new women’s course record of 69:51 in the process.
Purdue, who had to pull out of the 2022 World Championships marathon due to a bout of Covid-19, is another athlete looking to test her fitness ahead of this year’s TCS London Marathon.
Other leading names in the elite women’s field include Samantha Harrison, a two-time runner up at The Big Half who placed sixth in the 2022 Commonwealth Games 10,000m final. Steph Twell, another former runner-up at the event, will also be on the Start Line of The Big Half this year.
Elite men's showdown
In the elite men’s race, Sir Mo Farah, who announced he was running The Big Half last month, will be joined by an extremely strong domestic field that includes two former champions: last year’s winner Jake Smith and 2020 victor Chris Thompson.
Andy Butchart, who placed seventh in the 2022 Commonwealth Games 10,000m final, will make his first appearance at The Big Half this year. This will be only his second race over the half marathon distance. Jack Rowe, runner-up in The Big Half 2021, will also be returning to the Start Line.
There will also be a London reunion for Farah and Ellis Cross. Aldershot, Farnham & District AC athlete Cross made headlines in May when he shocked the four-time Olympic champion to win the Vitality London 10,000.
Returning wheelchair winners
The elite men's wheelchair field will be headed by Paralympian David Weir, who returns to The Big Half for the fourth time. Weir will also be looking to celebrate 10 years since he won his four Paralympic gold medals at the 2012 London Games.
He said: “The Big Half weekend falls on the 10-year anniversary of winning two of my four gold medals at London 2012 – the highlight of my career. To still be racing on the streets of London with the crowd cheering you on is something you never quite get used to. I’m looking forward to being back and I hope the crowds will be inspired by the memories of 2012.”
Weir will be hoping to bounce back from the disappointment of puncturing while leading the Commonwealth Games marathon final in Birmingham.
Joining Weir on the Start Line will be both the winner and runner-up in that Commonwealth Games marathon: champion JohnBoy Smith and second-placed Sean Frame.
The elite women’s wheelchair race will feature two-time London Marathon champion and The Big Half 2020 winner Shelly Woods, alongside 2022 Commonwealth Games marathon silver-medallist Eden Rainbow-Cooper.
The Big Half will be shown live on the BBC and on The Big Half Facebook page on Sunday 4 September.