Cash short­age spells end for cross- coun­try show­piece

The Scotsman - - WEEKEND SPORT - By MARK WOODS

The an­nual Internatio­nal Cross- Coun­try, which re­lo­cated to Stir­ling last Jan­uary af­ter 14 years in Ed­in­burgh, has been scrapped.

The event, which orig­i­nally be­gan life two decades ago in Durham, was re­garded as the best in the sport out­side of the world cham­pi­onships.

It had at­tracted some of ath­let­ics’ big­gest names, with past win­ners in­clud­ing Olympic cham­pi­ons Mo Farah, Ke­n­e­sisa Bekele and marathon world record holder Eliud Kip­choge.

But Great Run, who or­gan­ised the tele­vised show­piece, re­vealed the shock news that it is no more with the three-yearold Stir­ling Marathon, staged in April, also to be axed.

“For the last ten years we have been stag­ing world class cross-coun­try com­pe­ti­tion in Scot­land through the Great X Coun-try ,” said as pokesper­son.

“Un­for­tu­nately, the costs of stag­ing this event are in­creas­ing at the same time as com­mer­cial rev­enue is de­clin­ing and the re­al­ity is the event is no longer eco­nom­i­cally vi­able for us.”

The meet­ing moved to Stir­ling from its long­stand­ing home in Holy­rood Park when City of Ed­in­burgh Coun­cil with­drew its fi­nan­cial back­ing in 2018, with Eventscot­land step­ping in to keep the event in Scot­land in the face of ri­val bids from south of the bor­der.

But al­though t he new venue was well- re­ceived, the ab­sence of ma­jor internatio­nal names sig­nalled a de­fin­i­tive down­grad­ing which has now been fol­lowed by its demise.

The de­ci­sion taken by Great Run – which was founded by Bren­dan Fos­ter, pic­tured – pro­vides a ma­jor headache for Scott i sh Ath­let­ics who held their hugely- pop­u­lar In­terDistric­t Cham­pi­onships in tan­dem with the Internatio­nal as well as us­ing the Great Stir­ling marathon as its na­tional cham­pi­onships.

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