Sammy Wanjiru, the world half-marathon record holder, will be in action on Tyneside in September after it emerged the Kenyan will head the elite field at the 26th Great North Run.
And organisers have challenged the 20-year-old to become the quickest man over the course, with Wanjiru having been tipped to break Zersenay Tadesse's race record.
Tadesse finished the 2005 event in 59 minutes and five seconds - at that time a world record - and the Eritrean will return to the region this year in an attempt to win back his title.
And with the accomplished Africans preparing to go head-to-head on the North-East's streets, an fascinating race is expected to unfold when the pair depart Newcastle on September 30.
Matthew Turnbull, the event's elite athletes director, said "We pride ourselves on the fact that both male and women world-beaters have come to our event in the past and produced thrilling performances. Now we have managed to attract Wanjiru and with him being a natural front-runner, fireworks are expected if the weather is in his favour."
Wanjiru, who first broke the half-marathon world record in 2005, has repeated the feat twice this year. In February, he ran 58min 53 secs in Ras al Khaimah. Five weeks later in The Hague, he lowered his time to 58min 35 secs.
* PARALYMPIC star Oscar Pistorius will run against Olympic and world champion Jeremy Wariner over 400m at next month's Norwich Union British Grand Prix in Sheffield.
Pistorius is the double amputee world record holder for the 100m, 200m and 400m.
He recently finished runner up in the 400m at the South African able-bodied national championships.
The 20-year-old sprinter, nicknamed `Blade Runner' because of the carbon fibre blades he uses on both legs below the knees, has ambitions to compete in the Beijing Olympics next year.