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Great Edinburgh XC will keep on running

Stephanie Twell finishes sixth in the Great Edinburgh XC at the weekend. Picture: Toby Williams

Stephanie Twell finishes sixth in the Great Edinburgh XC at the weekend. Picture: Toby Williams

  • by JO ATKINSON
 

The Bupa Great Edinburgh XC organisers, Nova International, have clinched an agreement to bring the event back to Scotland for the next three years.

It means that the splendid Holyrood Park backdrop is confirmed as the venue for the prestigious cross country fixture until 2017 at least.

EventScotland and Edinburgh City Council have been involved in the agreement with Nova – with last Saturday’s Great Edin-burgh XC marking the 25th anniversary of the event since it began in the north-east of England in 1988.

Brendan Foster, chairman of organisers Nova International, explained: “Our aim for this event has always been to create a world-class festival of cross- country running.

“From our early days in the North East of England and now in our new home of Edinburgh, we’ve strived to create an exciting experience for athletes and spectators and have had the pleasure of hosting some of the world’s best.

“With help from our partners EventScotland and the City of Edinburgh Council, we look forward to 25 more years of this great event.”

Performances from the likes of Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele, Paula Radcliffe, Liz McColgan and double Olympic champion Mo Farah have really helped cement the reputation of an event which has been shown live on the BBC since its inception.

Since its relocation to Edinburgh, the event has also included a mass participation 5k, the Bupa Great Winter Run, which attracts 2,500 runners from around Scotland and across the UK, as well as the popular Bupa Junior Great Winter Run for seven to 14-year-olds.

EventScotland recently announced they had committed to continuing to support the event for the next three years.

Nigel Holl, scottishathletics’ chief executive, said: “Holyrood Park is a stunning backdrop at this time of year for a great day of athletics.

“One of the many positive features of the day is that it works on various levels – we’ve international class races with real Olympic stars, we’ve inter-district races featuring the best Scottish club athletes, we have kids participation races with big numbers and then there’s the 5k, which is very popular, too.”

Paul Bush OBE, chief operating officer for EventScotland, said: “To be around for 25 years is a significant milestone for any event and this is testament to how highly regarded these races are within the international athletics community.

“Scotland is the perfect stage for events and we always look forward to this world-class meet at the start of the year, which showcases one of the most spectacular parts of our capital city.

“Before moving to Edinburgh the event was held at another iconic Scottish venue, Balmoral Castle, and in celebrating its quarter-century, Scotland is proud to have such a long- standing association with this major international event.”

Saturday’s event saw Great Britain and Northern Ireland edge out Europe in the team event, while Scots to impress were Callum Hawkins, who finished sixth in the men’s 8k, just 22 seconds behind race winner Chris Derrick of the US, and Stephanie Twell, also sixth, in the women’s 6k.

 

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