03 DEC 2011 General News Bolzano, Italy

Cheruiyot and Merga return for New Eve celebrations in Bolzano

Fierce fighting! Imane Merga holds of Mo Farah in Bolzano (Lorenzo Sampaolo)Fierce fighting! Imane Merga holds of Mo Farah in Bolzano (Lorenzo Sampaolo) © Copyright

The 37th edition of the International New Year's Eve Run BOclassic in Bozen/Bolzano has attracted World XC champions Imane Merga and Vivian Cheruiyot.


Ethiopian Imame Merga from Ethiopia and Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot are the defending race title holders and after last year’s triumphs went onto take global cross country honours in Punta Umbria.


In Bolzano on 31 December 2010, Merga and Cheruiyot won two hard-fought races which weren’t decided until the final sprint.


Cheruiyot held off defending champion Sule Utura, the 2008 World Junior champion in the 5000m, in a dramatic sprint in which the Kenyan prevailed by a very close margin with both athletes sharing the same time of 15:52 in the 5Km race.  The men’s 10Km race was no less dramatic with Merga winning by just a few centimetres over Britain's Mo Farah, the European 5000 and 10,000 metres champion. The strong finisher Merga managed to edge out Farah, who later in year was crowned track's World 5000m champion, by the thickness of his vest after a fantastic neck-and-neck battle into the finish-line. Both Merga and Farah clocked 28:32 but the win went to the Ethiopian by just 0.2 sec.


This year both champions return after the most successful seasons of their careers. In Daegu, Merga won the bronze medal over 10,000m. Furthermore the 23-year-old won the 5000m Diamond Race of the Samsung Diamond League, while Cheruiyot was also the Diamond Race winner and in Daegu won the 5000 and 10,000m double.


It was in 1975 when several enthusiastic runners of the Läuferclub Bozen followed Sao Paolo's model, and created the New Year's Eve Run in Bozen/Bolzano.