Edinburgh ready to inspire

From Matthew Brown, BAWA
In less than 130 days the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships take place in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, when the world’s greatest cross-country runners and thousands of supporters will gather in Scotland’s inspiring capital.

The championships on Sunday March 30 mark the 30th anniversary of the last time that the World Cross was staged in Scotland, in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park.

The successful European Cross-country championships, held on the same course in Edinburgh in 2003, was one of several major events staged in the city in recent years providing sufficient evidence of the Local Organising Committee’s ability to organise a championships of this stature. This confidence in the LOC was confirmed during the IAAF’s media site visit in early November which provided satisfactory feedback.

The LOC hopes that the continued popularity of cross-country will be celebrated with a record number of countries from every continent and a crowd of up to 10,000 for the weekend’s showcase events which will be shown live on BBC.

Supporting activities
The weekend will include many supporting activities as well, in particular – on the Saturday afternoon (March 29) – the first Home Countries cross-country international since 1990. The first home international between Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales was contested at Hamilton Park Race Course in 1903.

In 2008, prize money of almost £4,000 will be on offer for this race and BBC will record short highlights to be shown the following day.

There will also be a Welcome the World 5km mass participation race on the morning of the main event.

Accreditation for the IAAF championship races will be sent to federations in early January with a deadline of March 10. Accommodation forms and IT arrangements will be distributed by e-mail once accreditation has been approved, while the Edinburgh Convention Bureau will manage media hotel bookings.

Two media hotels have been confirmed so far with a third to be added if needed. The main media hotel is the three-star Point Hotel (, 3km from Holyrood Park. This will have a sub-press centre open from Thursday 27 (open till midnight on Saturday and Sunday) with wifi access throughout (costs to be confirmed). There will also be free wireless in the bar and lobby, and cable in bedrooms. Single occupancy rooms will cost £72, doubles £90.

The second hotel is Herald House (, a two-star hotel in Edinburgh’s Grove Street, 3.5km from the course. It has 46 en-suite rooms with wireless access (costs to be confirmed), wifi in the public areas and a small meeting room. Rooms are £60 for singles and £80 for doubles.

Accreditation and media welcome bags will be distributed from the press centre. The IAAF press conference will be held on Saturday March 29 in the official IAAF hotel – the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel – just minutes from the course.

The on-course press centre, a marquee in Holyrood Park, will be open on Saturday from 10am to 5pm and on Sunday from 10am to 7pm.

A timetable of social events for journalists – including a special BAWA social (details soon) – is currently being developed and will be circulated ahead of the championships.

The 2003 European championships are still widely regarded as the best ever in the 20-year history of that event, helping to create a lasting legacy for cross-country in Scotland. In 2008 the Edinburgh vision is clear: “To host the best World Cross Country Championships ever held and leave a lasting legacy for the next generation of Scottish athletes.”

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