Ellis Cross, 25, beat Mo Farah during the Vitality London 10,000m on Monday
The previous summer, he just came 10th in the 10,000m at the British Championships
On Monday’s race, he wasn’t considered sufficient to be important for the first class pack
However, he made heads spin to beat the Olympic hero by four seconds
A novice and self-admitted ‘club sprinter’ beat Olympic hero Mo Farah in a 10km race having worked an entire day at a running shop the other day.
Ellis Cross, 25, works six-hour shifts at Up and Running, in Surbiton, south west London, and will be back there this evening barely 24 hours from his most renowned success.
On bank occasion Monday, he beat Farah, ostensibly the UK’s most noteworthy ever perseverance competitor – an amazing victory for a completed 10th in the 10,000m novice at the British titles the previous summer.
The previous accomplishment is considerably seriously amazing when you consider he needed to pay his own £37 extra charge, didn’t have his name on his napkin, wasn’t viewed as a component of the tip top pack and needed to take the train to the beginning line.
It was astonishing for basically everybody to see Cross – wearing kiddie apron number 219 – close by perhaps the best sprinters in history through the initial eight kilometer, however practically staggering to see him pull away from the seven-time champ to bring back home the triumph at the Vitality London 10,000 by an edge of four seconds.
‘I was joking with a colleague saying that’,
he told BBC Breakfast.
‘I was actually working on Sunday so I worked the day before the race, did a full day. I was just like
“oh I’m racing Mo Farah tomorrow, who knows? What if I beat him”?’
Millie Grice, the colleague Cross was speaking to, said she didn’t give his prediction much thought until she watched footage of him outpacing Farah while she worked at the shop on Monday.
She told the Telegraph after his victory: ‘He told me he was going to win.’
But there was reason for his confidence. As a youngster, Cross was a prolific junior athlete. He twice won the English national cross-country in the under-20s, the BUCS 5,000m and also came 15th in the European cross-country championships for the under-23s in 2016.
Shortly after, he signed a professional contract with Hoka One One, a sympathetic local company, in 2019 but that ended two years later, shortly before his dream of becoming a fully professional runner materialised.
While remaining an extremely talented athlete, Cross is now an amateur runner for Aldershot, Farnham & District – a club which celebrated his victory over Farah as ‘one of the most notable victories of his career so far’ – and his finish time of 28 minutes and 40 seconds was a personal best.
He revealed afterwards that he didn’t even wear his watch during the race – hoping just for a ‘hard run out’ without worrying about times – and had to pay his own £37 entry fee as he wasn’t deemed good enough to get a paid-for spot.
Following his win, he was reflective of what he had just achieved.
‘I haven’t followed the script have I?’ he said. ‘I didn’t believe it until 20 metres from the line when I thought,
“I think I might be able to win this race”,
and then just gave it absolutely everything I had. I managed to hold on. I’m absolutely delighted.’
On the day, he was up at 6am in order to get the train to the race and had to run wearing a bib without his name on – names on bibs being reserved for the elite runners who also avoid paying the entry fee.
He revealed that people who turned out to watch the race on Monday were all calling out Mo Farah’s name because they didn’t have a clue who he was.
‘No one knows who I am,’ he said.
‘I’m just a club runner. I just wanted a hard run out – I didn’t even wear my watch.’
Born in September 1996, Cross studied at the Polesworth School in Tamworth, Staffordshire, before going to St Mary’s University, in Twickenham. The university is popular with talented sportsmen and women owing to its state of the art facilities and running track on campus – facilities deemed good enough for Farah himself to train there from 2001 to 2011.
His girlfriend since 2017, Anna Weston, also attended St Mary’s University and works alongside Cross at Up & Running as a sales assistant. She is a pretty handy endurance runner herself, running 10km in less than 40 minutes, and has competed in the South of England and cross country championships.
In an interview in December 2021, Cross talked about the reach of athletics, comparing its lack of fanfare with horse racing, which sees thousands turn out to watch, and asked what the difference is between humans and horses racing.
He told Views From the Concourse: ‘You go to something like horse racing you get a significant amount of money that is there and people are happy to put money on, they can have a full day out and watch it. You turn up and watch people running and you get nothing.’
Cross, having enjoyed funding while at university and during the two years he was sponsored, now uses the money he earns from fitting customers with new running trainers at Up & Running to help fund his training.
‘I’ve been saying to people at university you’ve got to take that opportunity and make every single moment count.
‘An athlete in our sport, the best part of funding is student finance.’
Winning yesterday’s race came with £2,000 in prize money which Birmingham City football fan Cross hopes to put towards buying a house, while hoping the recognition of this race will help him gain elite entry into races in the future.
‘It would be nice wouldn’t it! Free entry goes a long way for someone like myself.’