Cross Country

Five things we learned at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country

Cathal Dennehy visited the Great Edinburgh Cross Country Festival last weekend, January 10, and wrote several pieces for RunBlogRun on the event and the super stars at this important cross country fixture. 

1) Holyrood Park: a cross country course from Heaven and Hell

Most athletes either love or hate this kind of course, but for many, this was cross country at its most brutal, get-it-in-your-gut, best. The course in Holyrood Park is renowned as the most challenging on the international circuit, but on Saturday it was made even more gruelling, courtesy of an icy wind and occasional sleet storm which must have made the athletes, as notoriously tough as they are, question their very existence.

There was the occasional piece of decent running ground, but lots of squelchy, muddy patches, mini-streams to cross, steep hills to climb, and more. It was the antithesis of the manicured surfaces most collegiate athletes in America are used to, and indeed of many championship cross country courses in recent years. Of course, those have their place too, but courses like this should never be absent from the cross country scene. They are the great equaliser among elite athletes, and embody the very spirit of what cross country is supposed to be: chaotic, challenging, and occasionally brutal.

To read the rest of this article on RunBlogRun, click here.

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Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy is a freelance journalist, a once-serious, now-retired athlete who writes for a number of international publications in the running industry. He has won two sports-writing awards, the Peter Ball Memorial Award in Ireland and the Wills Writing Award in the UK. Nationally, he previously worked for the Sunday Tribune, Irish Runner magazine and has written for the Sunday Independent, Irish Independent, the Guardian and The Independent in Britain. He is a regular contributor to Running Times, Runner's World, RunBlogRun and the IAAF website.
His banter levels are often poor, occasionally exceptional.

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