20 DEC 2010 General News Edinburgh, UK

Farah and Thompson line-up for xc team challenge in Edinburgh

Mo Farah adds the European 5000m crown to his 10,000m title in Barcelona (Getty Images)Mo Farah adds the European 5000m crown to his 10,000m title in Barcelona (Getty Images) © Copyright
After their best ever track seasons, champion runners, Mo Farah and Chris Thompson will switch their attention to winter campaigns at the start of 2011, beginning with the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country - IAAF XC Permit Meeting - on 8 January 2011.

Farah, who was crowned European Championships 5000m and 10,000m gold medallist in August, and Thompson, who was runner up in the 10,000m, will lead the British team in the Men's International Team Challenge in Holyrood Park.
 
Their appearances for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland senior teams will see them compete in a high calibre competition against exceptionally talented United States and European Select squads.
 
Dathan Ritzenhein, the World Half Marathon bronze medallist and reigning US national cross country champion, heads his country's pursuit of honours. Ukraine's Sergiy Lebid, who clinched a ninth European Cross Country title last weekend, will captain the continental squad.
 
This year the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country introduced the concept of a team challenge under IAAF rules with nine runners competing and the side with the lowest overall score from its first six finishers declared the winners, has been widely welcomed by all of the participating contingents who have selected very strong squads for the first ever staging of Men's International Team Challenge.
 
UK Athletics will also be showcasing many of its best under 23 and under 20 athletes in the eight kilometres race at the BBC televised meeting.
 
Ian Stewart, UKA’s head of endurance said: “We’ve had a brilliant 2010, most recently in the European Cross Country Championships where we finished top of the medal table.
 
"It’s great that we’ve got an early opportunity to continue the forward momentum for UK endurance running with a high quality international competition so early in the New Year.
 
"The junior boys were brilliant in Portugal, winning a team gold and a few of them are going to gain even greater experience by stepping up to the under-23 age group for the first time. With Mo and Thommo we’ve got our strongest guys back out there with the seniors.”
 
Adding even more spice to the race is the fact that Farah and Thompson, following intensive training camps at altitude in Kenya, were both absentees when Lebid romped to his latest European success in Albufeira, Portugal.
 
"I wouldn't say either of them has a point to prove against him. Their primary focus already is next year's IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Daegue," said Peter Riley, the meeting's elite athletes' coordinator.
 
"But they're a highly competitive pair. In front of a home crowd, they will be determined to show their superiority, not only against Sergey, but against Ritzenhein and all the other stars competing.
 
"It promises to be an exciting race, and of course, there is an added incentive for all competitors: every point earned will be vital to their team's overall success."
 
Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland Teams
Men's International Team Challenge
 
Seniors
John Beattie
Mo Farah
Tom Humphries
Ryan McLeod
Lee Merrien
Phil Nicholls
Scott Overall
Chris Thompson
Andy Vernon
 
Under 23/Under U20 Men
Andy Combs
Ben Connor
Robbie Farnham-Rose
Mitch Goose
Ashley Harrell
Derek Hawkins
Jonny Hay
John McDonnell
Ryan Saunders