'Fly Mo' soars after tucking into Haggis

On the west side of Scotland's capital yesterday the air traffic at Edinburgh International Airport was brought to a halt by snow. On the east side of the city there was no stopping the burgeoning British sporting phenomenon known as Fly Mo.

Wearing a Great Britain vest for the first time since the steamy July Saturday night on which he completed his 5,000m-10,000m double at the European Championships in Barcelona, Mo Farah proved a class apart in the feature race at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country. The sub-zero temperatures could not freeze the assets of the 27-year-old golden boy of British distance running as the 8.2km international team race unfolded on a picturesque snow-covered course in the shadow of Arthur's Seat.

Protected from the Caledonian extremities by a long-sleeve thermal shirt, knee-length shorts, gloves and a hat, Farah chose to bide his time towards the back of the lead pack before hitting the front on the first of three climbs up the steep slopes of Haggis Knowe. After the second ascent, he made what proved to be winning move, pulling decisively clear of American Galen Rupp and Sergey Lebid, the Ukrainian who boasts nine European cross country titles.

As he entered the finishing straight, Farah took off his hat, showing his rivals a clean shaven head as well as a clean pair of heels. He crossed the line in 25min 41sec, with Rupp nine seconds down in second place and Spain's Ayad Lamdassam snatching third ahead of the tiring Lebid.

"Last year I didn't have such a good time here," Farah reflected. "This time I felt really good." Twelve months ago the Somali-born Londoner finished third and in a state of near-collapse in the short-course 4.2km race. Medical tests showed him to be suffering from deficiencies in iron and magnesium.

In addition to vitamins, regular training trips to Kenya helped to instil the mettle that took the matchstick man figure to double gold in Barcelona and also to the British 5,000m record last summer. The benefits of a pre-Christmas stint in Iten were clear to see at Holyrood yesterday in a race from which the might of East Africa were conspicuously absent, the main event on the programme having been re-vamped as an international contest between Great Britain, Europe and the USA. As Farah looks to take on the Kenyans and Ethiopians at the World Championships in Daegu in August, however, he is preparing for a new departure.

Tomorrow Farah leaves home to follow in the footsteps of Paula Radcliffe to Alburquerque - home of not just hot dogs and jumping frogs but also the elite group of distance runners coached by the Cuban-born American great of the marathon, Alberto Salazar. Radcliffe has been working with Salazar in readiness for her return to the marathon following the birth of her second child. Farah intends to test the training waters in New Mexico before his next competitive outing, an indoor race over 3,000m or 5,000m at the Aviva British Grand Prix in Birmingham on February 19.

"Salazar's a great coach," he said. "Kenya has worked out well for me but it will be nice to try something different. I'm going to the US to check it out. Salazar's got a good group in Alburquerque. Paula goes there a lot."

Farah has yet to decide whether to defend his 3,000m title at the European Indoor Championships in Paris in March. "I'd love to have a go at retaining it," he said, "but I'll sit down and have a chat with my coach about it. the main focus this year is the World Championships in Daegu in the summer."

Suggested Topics
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all