Sir Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar) and Laura Muir (Andy Young) were in press conference action this afternoon ahead of tomorrow’s Great Edinburgh International XCountry in Holyrood Park.
Joined by the USA’s Garrett Heath and Europe’s Fionnuala McCormack, the British pair spoke of their ambitions for both tomorrow’s annual opener and the year to come, with the IAAF World Championships London 2017 firmly on both athletes’ radars.
Farah, who was knighted in the New Year’s Honours following a successful defence of his Olympic double in Rio, is looking forward to competing in front of a home crowd on Saturday afternoon with his new title.
The multiple global medallist said:
“It’s been pretty exciting time. It’s an honour to be able to called Sir, as an athlete I never dreamed of it. The first time I ran in a Great Britain vest was amazing, so to be recognised by the country and the public is incredible. It’s great for athletics – it gives young kids a dream, and hope. It’s a key message for them that if you work hard at something, you can achieve it.
The 33 year-old, who finished second only to the USA’s Garrett Heath at last year’s edition of the event, spoke about the favourable conditions of the course for the 2017 edition of the event.
“It should help me, I’m a track runner. But Garrett is a great runner – he has a good record here. This is what cross country is all about – you don’t know what you are going to get!”
After a race victory in 2011, Farah will be looking for another good result in the Scottish capital as he lines up in a strong senior men’s British team which includes 2016 European Cross Country Championships bronze medallist, Callum Hawkins (Robert Hawkins).
Muir broke the British indoor 5000m record by over 14 seconds on Wednesday evening in Glasgow, and appeared in good spirits ahead of her appearance in the mixed 4x1km relay tomorrow afternoon.
The 23 year-old commented ahead of the race: “It’ll be a lot different; a lot colder, a lot muddier, but l have run this race before and I’ve run in Edinburgh a couple of times and it’s always a great atmosphere. I think it’ll be really competitive against the other teams [speaking on the relay] – hopefully I can get the baton around first.”
Muir, who will also captain the British Athletics team added: “Training has been going really well, I want to go out and run a good race tomorrow – stick to my splits and see what happens.”
Defending junior men’s winner Alex Yee (Kenneth Pike) will be seeking to retain his crown tomorrow whilst European cross bronze medallist Harriet Knowles-Jones (Paul Roden) will line up in the women’s equivalent, both races precede the senior races at 12:15 and 12:45 respectively.
The Simply Health Great Edinburgh International XCountry is free to spectate and will be shown live on BBC One and BBC One HD from 13:15 on 7 January 2017.
The British Athletics team for the Great Edinburgh International XCountry in Edinburgh, Scotland:
Ben Connor (Spencer Duval)
Ellis Cross (Mick Woods)
Sir Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar)
Alex George (Paul de-Camps)
Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans)
Callum Hawkins (Robert Hawkins)
Charlie Hulson (Steve Vernon)
Mahamed Mahamed (Peter Haynes)
Jack Martin (David Turnbull)
Jonny Taylor (Gordon Surtees)
Andy Vernon (Nic Bideau)
Charlotte Arter (James Thie)
Lauren Deadman (Bill Foster)
Claire Duck (Mike Baxter)
Rachel Felton (Christopher Frapwell)
Emily Hosker-Thornhill (Mick Woods)
Jessica Judd (Mick Judd)
Rebecca Murray (Alex Stanton)
Georgina Outten (Andrew Walling)
Beth Potter (Mick Woods)
Gemma Steel (Rob Denmark)
Steph Twell (Mick Woods)
Pippa Woolven (Luke Gunn)
Scott Beattie (Mike Bateman)
Hugo Milner (Chris Woodhouse)
Sam Stevens (Alan Maddocks)
Sol Sweeney (Catriona Helen Tavendale)
Alex Yee (Kenneth Pike)
Phoebe Barker (Richard Owen)
Cari Hughes (Andrew Walling)
Harriet Knowles-Jones (Paul Roden)
Amelia Quirk (Beverly Kitching)
Erin Wallace (Dudley Walker)
Victoria Weir (Simon Anderson)
Mixed 4x1km Relay
James Bowness (William Parker)
Laura Muir (Andy Young)
Charlene Thomas (Aaron Thomas)
James West (George Gandy)