Edinburgh, ScotlandThe Local Organising Committee’s (LOC) press conference ahead of the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships here in the Scottish capital on Sunday (30 March), took place this morning (28) in the McDonald Holyrood Hotel, Edinburgh.
Hosted by LOC Chair Geoff Wightman, a former GB team international (2:13 marathon PB; 1991), among the guests were current British team member Andrew Lemoncello, one of two Scottish runners in the squad for Sunday’s World Cross Country, and Mark Pollard, a member of the Scottish line-up for tomorrow’s Home Countries International, which is one of the supporting events this weekend.
A supporting attraction it maybe but with a history stretching back to 1903 in Hamilton, Scotland when the Home Countries was first contested, the race is at the very roots of the discipline of cross country running.
Saturday’s championships between Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales was last held in March 1990, and its rival is a by-product of the World Cross Country Championships being staged in Edinburgh this year.
There will be a strong visual representation of the history of the event with the original Lumley Trophy which was awarded in 1903 on display during the weekend.
Remarking on the rival of the Home Countries International, Pollard commented that the race by increasing competition within Britain would “help Scottish runners improve their standard and so bridge the gap” from domestic and international competition so that more Scots would make it on to the GBR & NI team at the World Cross in future years.
Lemoncello, who appears on the front cover of Sunday’s Official Programme, and who has already achieved that national team distinction, was modest about his expectations for Sunday's competition.
“The World Cross Country has always been my focus for this year since it was first announced that the championships had been awarded to Edinburgh.”
“I just want to get out there and give it a go. I want to be first Brit and mix it with the other Europeans in the race.”
With fine weather predicted for Sunday, the organisers are hoping to attract 10 to 20,000 spectators to the course.
Chris Turner for the IAAF
NOTE: The IAAF Press Conference which officially opens the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships takes place at midday tomorrow, Saturday 29 March, at the McDonald Holyrood Hotel, and is open to all accredited members of the media.
-----------UPDATE 29 March 2008 Home Countries International
Tom Lancashire and Gemma Miles led England to convincing team victories at the Home Countries International Cross Country meeting in Edinburgh this afternoon (29).
In a build-up event to tomorrow's 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships at the Holyrood Park venue, the pair were always in command of their races in the first match of its kind to take place since 1990.
Miles took the women's six kilometres title by 17 seconds in 20:30 ahead of team-mate Victoria Wilkinson, with Scotland's Freya Murray third in 20:53.
Lancashire followed her fine display with a much closer win in his 8km race, outpacing Scotland's Tom Russell for victory by three seconds in a time of 24:39 with England's David Webb placing third in 25:14.
Dave Martin PA International for the IAAF