January is cross-country season in Scotland with the annual running of the Great Edinburgh Cross-Country Challenge on Saturday. One of the biggest names in long-distance running, Mo Farah, who is now a knight, contested the senior men’s event, believed to be his final career cross-country race.
However, it was a British athlete not named Mo who was in the hunt for the win at the end of the 8K race. Rio Olympic marathon ninth-place finisher Callum Hawkins, 24, and American Leonard Korir, 30, battled it out in the final 100m with the U.S. athlete taking the win in 24:03 to Hawkins’ 24:04. Farah, who is not often considered a cross-country runner, finished seventh.
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“It was a hard day at the office, I’m a little bit behind where I would usually be at this stage of the season,” Farah, 33, told BBC Sport after the race.
In the senior women’s race, Yasemin Can, a Kenyan-born athlete who became eligible to represent Turkey in March 2016, handily won the 6K with no pressure from competitors in the finishing stretch. Ireland’s Fionnuala McCormack was second in 20:51, 15 seconds behind Can. The format of the event involved athletes representing teams from Europe, Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States. Canada did not send a team to the annual event.
The event was held on a true cross-country course with plenty of hills and muddy conditions. Staying dry often required leaps over significant puddles, as can be seen below in the senior women’s 6K.
Senior men’s finish
Senior women’s finish
Understandably, Farah was still the most popular athlete at the event signing autographs and taking photos with fans. This summer, he won, and defended, the men’s 5,000m and 10,000m at the Olympics. Though he was recently knighted, he still prefers to be called “Mo” rather than “Sir Mo Farah.”
The IAAF World Cross-Country Championships are being held in Kampala, Uganda in March. See who will represent Canada at the world championships here. In the meantime, there will be another famous cross-country race in the coming months where athletes run through buildings on course at a historic Italian event.