Mo Farah, the reigning Double Olympic and World Champion will make his return to the Great Edinburgh XCountry this Saturday. Farah will start his 2016 season in Scotland as he prepares to defend his Olympic title in Rio this summer - competing in his first cross-country race since he triumphed at the event in January 2011.
Mark Hollinshead, group chief executive of the Great Run Company said; “We’re thrilled to be welcoming Mo back to Holyrood Park and the Great Edinburgh International XC.
“This will be his first cross country race in five years and we’re sure the Edinburgh crowds will be out in force to give him, and the other world class athletes, their support.”
Farah will be competing in one of the four races that comprise the Team challenge against Team USA and Team Europe. His GB&N.I. teammates include five Scots.
Callum Hawkins, who represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games and 2015 Scottish XC Champion Andrew Butchart, line up with Farah for the Men’s 8K race. 2015 bronze medallist in the Scottish Nation XC Championships Josephine Moultrie will take part in the Senior Women’s 6K alongside the 2014 Bronze Medallist Beth Potter, while Kilbarchan AAC’s Euan Gillham represents GB in the Men’s U20 race.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “We are delighted that the Great Edinburgh International XCountry is set to open this all-important Olympic year in tremendous fashion and hugely excited at the prospect of witnessing Mo Farah competing on Scottish soil once more.
“Along with the other world-class athletes competing, Mo’s decision to kick-start his Olympic Games campaign in Edinburgh is further proof of Scotland’s outstanding reputation as the perfect stage for athletics events and we are confident the event will offer the perfect preparation for all of those competing in Rio this summer.”
The world-class event will be shown live on BBC One from 13:00 -14:30 and will showcase the city and the unique location of Holyrood Park.
Earlier in the day a record number of participants will take part in the Pure Gym Great Winter Run. 3000 amateur runners will take on the 5k around Arthur’s Seat. The Junior Great Winter Run will also be staged before the elite action gets underway.
They will be sent on their way by the inspiring tones of opera singer Lucy O’Byrne, who was runner up in the 2015 series of The Voice. Lucy is currently playing Maria in Sound of Music at the Playhouse in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Donald Wilson, said: "The Great Winter Run has become a firm fixture in Edinburgh and, despite the cold conditions, it continues to prove popular with thousands of runners and spectators. At this time of year, many people find the 5k stretch the perfect way to race their way back into fitness.
“The beautiful backdrop of the city’s ancient volcano Arthur’s Seat and the Dunsapie and St Margaret’s Lochs is a real favourite of mine and I’m looking forward to taking part. As a running fan, it’s a special day when you race in the footsteps of the likes of Mo Farah! Good luck to the other runners braving our winter weather and I’ll see you there.”
The event is completely free to spectate, so come along and enjoy all the action as well as tasty treats from Stoats Porridge Oats, Union of Genius Soup Kitchen, Risotto to Go and the Italian Coffee Bar.
For more information and a full timetable visit www.greatrun.org/winter