Action packed athletics indoors and out this weekend

Mo press conference

There is plenty on offer this weekend including the Sainsbury's Indoor Grand Prix and National Cross Counrty Championships in England, Wales and Scotland.

Farah, who has won both the 5000m and 10,000m at the Olympic Games, World Championships and European Championships and is number one on the National Running Ladder. has his own British record of 8:08.07 in his sights when he races over 2 miles at the Sainsbury's Indoor Grand Prix today, and hasn’t ruled out an assault on the world record of 8:04.35 set by Kenenisa Bekele at the same event in 2008.


At a meeting with the medial he said: “This is my first race of 2015 and I’m excited and really looking forward to it.  I’ve done some great training out there [in Ethopia] so I just need to put it together. My first aim is to try and go for a British record and then I’ll see what I can do after that, maybe even go for Bekele’s time. If I can run the last lap fast then maybe, we’ll see.”


Farah sees the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix as an important race as he looks ahead to defending his world titles in Beijing in August.


He continued: “For me 2015 is about making that right start. Having a good start and continuing that through the summer. This year is the World Championships and hopefully I can go out there and try to defend my world titles.”


The Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix will be shown live on BBC One from 1.00pm to 4.30pm. Sainsbury’s is proud to be a long-term supporter of British Athletics and a champion of inclusive sport for all, from grassroots to elite level.


Meanwhile, huge numbers of athletes, supporters and spectators are expected to attend the Saucony English National Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill Fields and the Welsh National Cross Country Championships in Corwen today. The Scottish National Cross Country takes place tomorrow in Falkrik and is also expecting a record turnout.

At Parliament Hill, over 8700 runners have been entered across the 10 races with a magnificent 3350 entered in the Senior Men’s race - the best entry since back in the year is 65 years since an English National Cross Country Championships was first held at Parliament Hill and, this year, the Championships return to this spiritual home of Cross Country running for the 14th time.

Last year at Wollaton park, Nottingham, the Senior Women’s Championship went to Gemma Steel (handicap -2.5) while the Men’s race was won by Steve Vernon (handicap -1.1) . At the time of writing it was not known whether either will be in action at Parliament Hill. 

The team titles are also hotly contested with Bedford & County Men’s and Aldershot, Farnham & District AC Women’s eager to defend their 2014 wins. All the other races from under 13s upwards will be very competitive and there will be lots of young runners tackling the course for the first time.


Dewi Griffiths (handicap -3.7) is aiming for an historic fourth straight Welsh Cross Country Championships title at the stunning setting of the Rhug Estate in North Wales.

Having secured a hat-trick of senior titles at Dinefwr Park in Carmarthenshire in 2014, the reigning British Athletics Cross Challenge champion is firm favourite to win his fourth crown as the event moves to Corwen today.

Griffiths is chasing the record held by Welsh distance running legend Steve Jones, who won nine titles in 10 years between 1977 and 1986, including five in a row from 1977 to 1981.

Only three athletes have ever won four titles in a row, Steve Jones (twice), Malcolm Thomas (1970-1973) and Tommy Arthur (1906-1909).



The senior women’s race should see a good battle between 2012 winner Caryl Jones (handicap 0.8) , pictured above in red vest, and last year’s U20 champion Ffion Price (handicap 5.1) .

Last year’s senior women’s winner Andrea Whitcombe (handicap 4.0) will be missing having recently given birth.

Callendar Park hosts the Scottish Championships on Sunday with the biggest entry field since 1994..

It will be a tenth year in a row at the popular Falkirk venue, as runners from U13 to Seniors and Veterans and the full athletics family in Scotland gather in their hundreds for eagerly-awaited cross country showdowns.

Callum Hawkins (handicap -5.6) defends his title seeking to give his family a fourth individual win in five years - brother Derek (handicap -4.8) won in 2011 and 2012.

In the Senior Women’s race, Commonwealth Games marathon runner Susan Partridge (handicap -0.9) will seek her third title.