With just about three weeks before the 35th edition of the BOclassic, the international New Year's Eve run in Bozen/Bolzano, the line-up is gradually becoming more concrete.
The organisers have confirmed that record winner Serhiy Lebid and Somali-born British runner Mohammed 'Mo' Farah will join defending champion Edwin Soi of Kenya in the race.
The British runner finished second in the recently concluded European XC championships ahead of Lebid. Aniko Kalovics, winner of 2006, participates in the women's field.
The annual European XC is a very important criteria for BOclassic's OC on their search for stars. "We want to commit top runners in top form for the best cast New Year's Eve run" Gianni Demadonna said.
Lebid is the only European winner of the BOclassic since 1990. Nobody got more victories in Bozen/Bolzano than the Ukrainian with his five victories . Furthermore, Lebid won eight times the European XC.
Last year, he finished second in Bozen/Bolzano, beaten only by Edwin Soi. The Kenyan, who finished third at the Beijing Olympics, is again the favourite.
Besides Lebid, Soi has to dread at least one further European. Mo Farah finished second at the European XC championships and was European XC winner in 2006 and this year's European Indoor champion over 3000m.
Born in Mogadishu (Somalia), he has been living in England since his childhood. In 2006, Farah also finished second in the EC and this June, he took the European team champion title over 5000 m. Presently, he is the strongest European over 5000 m.
Hungarian Aniko Kalovics, the 2006 winner of BOclassics, is also expected in Bozen/Bolzano. In 2006, she finished the African winning series, lasting 12 years with an impressive gun-to-tape win.
As in 2008, the BOclassic opens on the eve with the assignment of the numbers and a charity event on Walther Square.
The Ladurner Amateur Run and the Raiffeisen Youth runs are also part of the BOclassic on 31 december. This year, a handbike run will be held for the first time.