Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, the 2007 World and 2008 Olympic 5000m silver medallist, will be under serious pressure when attempting to regain the BUPA Great Edinburgh International Cross Country title at the beginning of the New Year.
Kipchoge, the 2003 World 5000m champion, last won this IAAF XC permit race in January 2005.
Ethiopia’s injured Kenenisa Bekele, the reigning World Cross Country champion, will not be around to chase a fourth successive race victory in Scotland but Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese and Kenyan Augustine Choge will both provide Kipchoge with serious opposition in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh on 10 January 2009.
Tadese, the 2007 World Cross Country champion, has followed home Bekele at the Edinburgh race in the last three years and with his great Ethiopian rival an absentee, knows it is a great opportunity to finally win the race. Likewise Choge, the reigning Commonwealth 5000m champion, has the experience and pedigree to seriously challenge for the victory too.
Kipchoge was the event's first ever winner and still cherishes what was his first-ever cross country success in Europe in 2005.
"Eliud was my first signing such is his enthusiasm for competing in Edinburgh," said elite athletes manager Andy Caine of Kipchoge who was World Cross Country Junior champion in 2003 and has had top-6 pace finishes in the senior long race in 2004 and 2005.
"He's been third on the last two occasions (in Edinburgh) but has still produced great performances and I think with Bekele not around to dictate tactics next month, it will be a different kind of race.”
"Tadese will also be eager to finally win the race after placing second to Bekele on the last two occasions and with a third placing also under his belt, he will be hungry to do so.”
"Neither of them can afford to rest on their laurels, because Choge has a blistering finish as everyone saw when he scorched to his Commonwealth victory in Melbourne two years ago."
Dave Martin – PA International – for the IAAF