Mo Farah to run Great Edinburgh Cross Country on January 10, 2015, from Nicola Hedley/Nova International

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The BUPA Great Edinburgh XC is one of the finest events that I have ever attended. Watching Chris Derrick continue his rise to the highest positions in American distance running. A tough course, real cross country, with high grass, a few hills, some mud and winter winds. 

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Chris Derrick, with shorter beard, wins US XC, photo by

The 2014 races were lots of fun to watch and chat with the athletes about afterwards. I was able to formally meet Chris Derrick and he lived up to all the nice things his fellow competitors and his coach had noted about him. 

It will be fun to see Mo Farah returning to the Edinburgh course. Mo will have busy 2015 and it is appropriate to see him start the drive to Beijing there. Alberto Salazar, his coach, is a big proponent of cross country, so it is nice to see Mo Farah back in the UK racing in early 2015. Edinburgh is on RunBlogRun's bucket list for 2015, but we are finalizing plans so will update you, our readers, in a few weeks. 


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Mo Farah, after his masteful 10,000m win in Nike Pre, May 2011, 
photo by

Double OIympic champion Mo Farah will return to his roots when he opens his 2015 racing schedule at the international Great Edinburgh XCountry at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh on Saturday 10 January.

Farah, who forged his distance running reputation as a winter mudlark and the reigning World, Olympic and European 5,000m and 10,000m champion will be contesting his first cross country race for four years when he lines up in the televised new year event in the Scottish capital, part of the prestigious IAAF Cross Country Permit series.

As a 15-year-old, Farah made his name on the national scene as a runaway winner of the intermediate boys' race at the 1999 English Schools' Cross Country Championships in Luton. Seven years later, in 2006, he claimed his first international title when he won the senior men's race at the European Cross Country Championships at San Giorgio su Lugano in Italy.

Now, as he prepares for a 2015 summer track season in which he intends to defend his World Championship 5,000m and 10,000m crowns in Beijing, the 31-year-old home hero of London 2012 will be laying the groundwork with his first cross country race since he triumphed in the 8k Great Edinburgh International race in January 2011.

"Next year will be an important year for me and I'm looking forward to returning to the Great Edinburgh Cross Country to kick off my season. For many years I ran cross country to build my base for the summer track season and it will be nice to return to Edinburgh and try to repeat my winning run of 2011 there." said Farah.

Farah's US coach Alberto Salazar was best known as a marathon man - a three time winner of the New York City Marathon - but he was a firm believer in the benefits of cross country during his own trailblazing distance running career. He won the US title three times and finished runner-up to Mohammed Kedir of Ethiopia in the 1982 World Cross Country Championships in Rome, relegating Kiwi Rod Dixon to third place. 

Salazar played a key role in guiding Farah through a testing time this year, helping him back to international prominence. After finishing eighth on his testing marathon debut in London in April and then missing the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow because of illness, Farah won the 5,000m and 10,000m at the European Championships in Zurich in August, adding to the double golds he achieved at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships.

He then broke Steve Ovett's 36-year-old British two miles best time in Birmingham before ending his racing schedule for the year on a high, becoming the first British man to win the Great North Run since Steve Kenyon back in the mists of 1985.

"It was a fantastic feeling winning the Great North Run in front of a home crowd in September and I'm sure there will be plenty of support in Edinburgh for my first event in 2015." said Farah.

The Great Edinburgh XCountry, televised live on BBC, is part of a new year festival for runners of all abilities, based at Holyood Park, next to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

The popular Great Winter Run, held on a scenic 5k course that loops around Arthur's Seat, provides the public with a perfect opportunity to dust off the New Year cobwebs before watching the world's best test themselves in the international cross country races.

For entry to the Great Winter Run visit

Nova International 

The Great Edinburgh XCountry is brought to you in partnership with Event Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council and event organisers Nova International.

Nova International, headed by Olympic medalist Brendan Foster, is one of the UK's leading event management and sports marketing agencies. The company's current brand portfolio also includes some of the biggest running events in the world, all based on the Great North Run, the world's leading half marathon with 57,000 entries.

Nova International was established in 1988 and has a strong sporting pedigree. Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Nova has established itself as a market leader in the world of sports marketing and event management.

For more information please visit

EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland's international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news Follow EventScotland on Twitter@EventScotNews. EventScotland is part of VisitScotland, the national tourism organisation which markets Scotland as a tourism destination across the world, gives support to the tourism industry and brings sustainable tourism growth to Scotland.

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