EDINBURGH stood accused of short-changing its sporting public last night after Saturday’s shock news that the Great International Cross Country, one of the country’s few annual world class sporting events, was moving on after a fruitful 14-year run on the iconic turf of the capital’s Holyrood Park.

Commonwealth silver medallist Lynsey Sharp, in typically forthright form on Twitter, led the calls for the SNP/Labour coalition-run City of Edinburgh Council to show more support to sport following the bombshell news that they were pulling the plug on annual funding estimated to be in the region of £100,000. Moreover, with a long-overdue £40m upgrade of the track and field facilities at Meadowbank currently underway, the city currently has only one functional track, at Saughton, for athletes to call upon. “No track for 3 years, now no XC event anymore,” she tweeted. “@Edinburgh_cc you should be ashamed.”

The only good news last night was the suggestion that other Scottish cities weren’t quite so reluctant when it came to welcoming world class sportspeople of the calibre of Mo Farah, Haile Gebrseselassie, Paula Radcliffe and Liz McColgan. With organisers Great Run Company still happy to keep the event north of the broder, Event Scotland are thought to be in discussion with a number of parties, with hopes high that another suitable destination in Scotland could be found willing to take over hosting this event from 2019 onwards.

Unlike Glasgow, public funding for recreation and leisure in Edinburgh is often dominated by culture and the arts, but scottishathletics chairman Ian Beattie was another who admitted the decision was a disappointment. “It will be missed,” Beattie told Herald Sport yesterday. “But I think this is a particularly Edinburgh situation. They are under certain financial considerations, we understand that, and they have just drawn a line under this one.

“But it is disappointing. Because this IS an iconic event. The roar last year when Callum Hawkins came round that top bend [ahead of Mo Farah], we had never heard anything like that at an athletics event. It was like a football roar, that kind of thing.

“It brings all the top athletes to Edinburgh and what the city gets from it is fantastic. So it is disappointing to see investment into sport is getting cut in the capital. Glasgow as a council invest really well in sport and we see the benefits of that in big events like the Great Scottish Run and the 10k but I don’t quite see the same thing from the City of Edinburgh Council at all.

“As for the track situation, we are obviously pleased to see Meadowbank being refurbished, at £40m for the whole project, but it means for a couple of years there will be only one operational track in Edinburgh, while there are three new tracks out at new schools in the south of Glasgow and East Renfrewshire. I was speaking to Paul Bush [at Event Scotland] on Saturday and he is still quite confident that something will come up [for the cross country] in Scotland. We have always integrated this even with our inter-district championships. So even from the age of 13 onwards, our athletes get the chance to compete in front of a big crowd and see how the international athletes compete. It is really important we try to keep it.”

At least the old place got a good send-off on Saturday. With Leonard Korir of the USA and Yasmine Can of Turkey winning the men’s and women’s elite events, taking top billing was a typically gutsy last-leg surge from Laura Muir which saw Team GB + NI outlast all comers in the Stewart Cup mixed 4x1km relay. Taking over in third place, she had left runners from Belgium and Europe trailing some 25m in her wake by the end, with Scotland ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams back in fifth and sixth. In four visits here as senior, she leaves Edinburgh with an unbeaten record, and said that some of the credit had to go down to her fellow students at the Glasgow vet school, who often keep her fit by sending her out on errands around the laboratory or the hospital.

“The others in anaesthesia were joking this week about who could go and get things the quickest,” Muir said afterwards. “So I’m always sent to go and get bit and bobs around the place – like take blood samples up to the lab.”

Muir, who signed numerous autographs for well wishers afterwards, is getting used to the fame which has started following her around. For instance, she was amazed to see recently finished behind only Mo Farah in a recent newspaper poll of 2017’s top British sports people, ahead of the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Anthony Joshua and Andy Murray. “Sometimes I’ll read a paper and go ‘ha, it’s me’,” she said. “It’s a bit strange and I’ll have a bit of a laugh about it because I work like any normal person and I’m so lucky I am where I am. I don’t really go to these big social things. Perhaps a few years down the line I’ll meet them but I’m in a little Scottish bubble just now.”