Far from the madding crowd at a frozen Holyrood Park on Saturday, and the anguish of Mo Farah and Kenenisa Bekele, some joy for the golden girl of British athletics in the warmth of the Seb Coe Building at the UK Athletics National Performance Centre in Loughborough. While Farah was fading from first to third in the 4.2 kilometres short race at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country meeting, leaving the course seeking medical tests, and the great Bekele was suffering a rare defeat, finishing fourth in the 9km main race at Holyrood, Jessica Ennis was opening her indoor season in sparkling form in the low-key Loughborough University Open meeting.
Ennis, the Sheffield athlete who struck heptathlon gold at the World Championships in Berlin last summer, produced indoor personal bests in three events: 6.39 metres in the long jump, 8.12 seconds in the 60m hurdles and 13.67m in the shot put. All of which augurs well for the 23-year-old's bid for the pentathlon title at the World Indoor Championships in Doha in March.
Farah is aiming for the 3,000m in Doha but plans to undergo blood tests, having come close to repeating the collapse he suffered at the end of the European Cross Country Championships in Dublin a month ago. He was passed in the Edinburgh snow by Ricky Stevenson, who proceeded to claim victory, and Steve Vernon. "Something wasn't quite right again," Farah said. "I'm going to have some more blood tests to make sure there's nothing wrong."
Farah, the reigning European indoor 3,000m champion, is due to head for a training camp in Kenya tomorrow, where he will be joined by Joseph Ebuya and Titus Mbishei, who together with their Kenyan compatriot Eliud Kipchoge relegated the out-of-sorts Ethiopian Bekele – the 11-times world cross-country champion – to fourth place in the feature event at Holyrood.