With just a month a go until the start of the IAAF cross country 2007 / 2008 permit series of races, it has been announced that Ethiopia’s multiple World Cross Country champion Kenenisa Bekele will face Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese, in next year's Great Edinburgh International Cross Country.
The race which takes place at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh on 12 January, will be the fifth of the eleven permit meetings in the IAAF series, and will be particularly important this year given the same venue will host the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships, 30 March 2008.
Tadese, who retained his World Road Running Championship title at the weekend in Udine, was the vanquisher of Bekele at this year’s World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, denying the Ethiopian triple World 10,000m track champion a sixth consecutive ‘long race’ gold, on the occasion when the championships returned to their one senior race format.
So Bekele will be looking for a confidence boosting victory over Tadese to help expunge memories of the ‘did not finish’ next to his name in the Mombasa results.
The 25-year-old Ethiopian will also be chasing a third successive victory in the Great Edinburgh International Cross Country, and as well as Tadese will take Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge the 2003 World 5000m track gold medallist.
Tadese although pushed into fourth place when Bekele claimed a third consecutive World 10,000m gold medal in Osaka two months ago is also eager for yet another rematch.
"I'm looking forward to returning to Edinburgh, it will be great running again there particularly as it will also stage the World Championships next year," said Tadese.
"That isn't a problem," said Tadese, the bronze medallist when Bekele won the 2004 Olympic 10000m gold medal. "We've had some great races together.”
Dave Martin (PA International) for the IAAF
IAAF Cross Country Permit Meetings - 2007 / 2008 season
17 - Oeiras International Cross Country Oeiras POR
25 - 14th Cross Internacional de Soria Cross Country Soria ESP
23 - Iris Lotto Cross Cup Brussels Brussels BEL
5 - International Cross Country Belfast GBR
12 - The Great North Cross Country Edinburgh GBR
20 - 26th Cross Internacional Santiponce (Sevilla) ESP
3 - Cinque Mulini San Vittore Olona ITA
9 - International Cross Nairobi KEN
10 - Cross Country Race Chiba JPN
10 - Eurocross Diekirch LUX
24 - 29th Almond Blossom Cross Country Albufeira (date tbc) POR
2 - Cross Country Race Fukuoka JPN