Steve Cardownie: Edinburgh cross country race was a showcase for city

Laura Muir in action during the 4 x 1000m relay
Laura Muir in action during the 4 x 1000m relay
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The Great Edinburgh International Cross Country run looks like it has run its last race if the city council proceeds with its proposal to cut funding, which would be a great pity.

When I was the Festival and Events Champion, it was recognised that the city was well served with cultural events and that we needed to devote more attention to staging world-class sporting events to provide some balance. This slight change in emphasis proved to be successful and Edinburgh began to establish itself as a city that could host and enhance events ranging from swimming and diving, cycling, hockey, touch rugby tournaments, gymnastics and running to name a few.

Edinburgh is renowned internationally for its major festivals, of which there are 12 held throughout the year and this is not only welcome but well deserved. What a shame, then, that a major sporting event which is broadcast live throughout the UK on a Saturday afternoon as well as attracting a worldwide TV audience should face the axe due to budget cuts.

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Such publicity is extremely hard to come by. A world-class field of competitors running against the backdrop of Arthur’s Seat, coverage of other historic sites and fabulous views of other parts of the city is a marketing executive’s dream but it now seems that all this is to be lost due to budget cuts.

The fact that Edinburgh is known throughout the sporting world and beyond for staging such a prestigious event, showcasing the city in such spectacular fashion, should not be lost on the major coalition partner that is running the city.

Setting the city’s budget is never easy, particularly in such trying times, and spending decisions have to be well thought through and prioritised.

But given that it has not yet been set, perhaps a funding package could be put together with other partners that would secure this event’s future. Alas I fear that it may already prove to be too late which – given the boost that this event provided to Edinburgh’s sporting reputation – is a sad state of affairs.

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