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Cross country's 2m capital boost

Andrew Lemoncello
Andrew Lemoncello hopes to be the fastest Briton

The World Cross Country Championships being staged in Edinburgh at the weekend are set to bring about 2m to the city.

The event, which is expected to attract about 15,000 spectators to Holyrood Park, is being aired live on BBC Two on Sunday from 1400 GMT.

Runners from 79 countries are to race in the first world event of its kind to hit Edinburgh in 30 years.

Saturday will see the Home Countries Cross Country International.

Steve Cardownie, Edinburgh City Council's events champion, said: "With top athletes from all over the world and thousands of spectators descending on Holyrood Park, Edinburgh is in for an exciting weekend of top-notch sport.

"We have a formidable record of hosting major world sporting events and the presence of the World Cross Country and other recently confirmed events demonstrate very clearly that our city is one of the most sought after venues in the world."

The IAAF World Cross Country Championships (Sunday)
1215 GMT Opening Ceremony
1300 GMT Junior Women (6km)
1330 GMT Junior Men (8km)
1405 GMT Senior Women (8km)
1445 GMT Senior Men (12km)
1525 GMT Medal ceremonies
1545 GMT Live band

Andrew Lemoncello is the only Scot entered in the race, which has about 600 participants.

Back on home soil after his latest spell of altitude training in Flagstaff, Arizona, the 25-year-old from St Andrews said: "My winter has gone well, the World Cross Country has been playing on my mind during every training run for a while.

"Over the last three months, we have been under snow in Arizona so I've been getting used to running on grass again over the last few weeks in Scotland. Running on road and track is so different than running on grass.

"I just want to get out there now. It's amazing to have a world event in Scotland, it's a stepping stone to the Commonwealth Games in 2014, that will be huge again.

"I don't get to run back here very often, so to be able to do it in this event is going to be really special."

On Saturday morning there will be a series of races for children and amateur races. The relays will be followed by a Disability Athletics race.

On Sunday the Welcome the World 5km relay, accompanied by a parachute display and music, will happen before the 12km race.

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