Cross works at Up & Running, in Surbiton, South West London, fitting customers with new running trainers

Ellis Cross, the saleswoman who beat Olympic champion Mo Farah over 10km


A self-confessed amateur ‘club runner’ has beaten Olympic champion Mo Farah in a 10km race after working a full day at a running shop the day before.

Ellis Cross, 25, works six-hour shifts at Up & Running, in Surbiton, south-west London, and will be back there tonight just over 24 hours after his most famous victory.

On a Bank Holiday Monday he beat Farah, arguably Britain’s greatest endurance athlete – a remarkable triumph for an amateur who finished only ninth in the 10,000m at the British Championships last summer.

Yesterday’s feat is even more astonishing when you consider he had to pay his own £37 entry fee, didn’t have his name on his bib, wasn’t considered part of the elite platoon and had to take the train to the start line.

It was surprising to almost everyone to see Cross – wearing bib number 219 – alongside one of the most successful runners in history over the first eight kilometres, but almost unbelievable to see him pull away from the sevenfold winner to claim victory. at the Vitality London 10,000 by a margin of four seconds.

Cross works at Up & Running, in Surbiton, South West London, fitting customers with new running trainers

Gold medalist Ellis Cross, silver medalist Mo Farah and bronze medalist Mohamud Aadan pose on the podium after the men's elite race.  Both Farah and Aadan were considered elite athletes, meaning they didn't have to pay their own entry fee and named on their bibs, which Cross had to do without.

Gold medalist Ellis Cross, silver medalist Mo Farah and bronze medalist Mohamud Aadan pose on the podium after the men’s elite race. Both Farah and Aadan were considered elite athletes, meaning they didn’t have to pay their own entry fee and named on their bibs, which Cross had to do without.

A prolific junior athlete, Cross signed a professional contract with friendly local company Hoka One One in 2019 but that ended two years later, shortly before his dream of becoming a full professional racer came to fruition.

A prolific junior athlete, Cross signed a professional contract with friendly local company Hoka One One in 2019 but that ended two years later, shortly before his dream of becoming a full professional racer came to fruition.

For one person, it was perhaps a little less surprising: Cross himself. After the race, he said he told his colleagues at Up & Running during his shift the day before that he “could beat Mo Farah tomorrow”.

“I was joking with a colleague saying that,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“I was actually working on Sundays, so I worked the day before the race, I did a full day. I was just like “oh, I’m running against Mo Farah tomorrow, who knows? What if I beat him”?

Millie Grice, the co-worker Cross was talking to, said she didn’t give her prediction much thought until she saw footage of him passing Farah while working at the store on Monday.

She told The Telegraph after her victory: “He told me he was going to win.”

Ellis Cross crosses the finish line ahead of Mo Farah to win the men's race at the Vitality London 10,000 road race

Ellis Cross crosses the finish line ahead of Mo Farah to win the men’s race at the Vitality London 10,000 road race

Cross (right) after shocking Farah to win the 10k race on a bank holiday Monday a day after telling her colleagues:

Cross (right) after shocking Farah to win the 10k race on a bank holiday Monday a day after telling his colleagues: ‘I could beat Mo Farah tomorrow’

But there were reasons for his confidence. As a youngster, Cross was a prolific junior athlete. He has twice won the English National Under-20 Cross Country BUCS 5000m and also came 15th at the European Under-23 Cross Country Championships in 2016.

Shortly after, he signed a professional contract with friendly local company Hoka One One in 2019 but ended two years later, shortly before his dream of becoming a full professional racer came to fruition.

Whilst remaining a hugely 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 remarkable victories of his career so far” – and his arrival time of 28 minutes. and 40 seconds was a personal best.

He later revealed he hadn’t even worn his watch during the race – just hoping for a ‘tough race’ regardless of the times – and had to pay his own £37 entry fee as he wasn’t deemed good enough to get a paying spot.

After his victory, he reflected on what he had just achieved.

“I didn’t follow the script, did I? ” he said. “I didn’t believe it until 20 meters from the line when I thought, ‘I think maybe I could win this race’ and then I gave it my all. I managed to hold on. I am absolutely thrilled.

As a youngster, Cross was a prolific junior athlete.  He twice won the English national under-20 cross-country, the BUCS 5,000m

As a youngster, Cross was a prolific junior athlete. He twice won the English national under-20 cross-country, the BUCS 5,000m

He also finished 15th at the European Under-23 Cross Country Championships in 2016

He also finished 15th at the European Under-23 Cross Country Championships in 2016

Cross Racing Club, Aldershot, Farnham & District, released a screenshot of the 25-year-old crossing the finish line as they congratulated him on

Cross Racing Club, Aldershot, Farnham & District, released a screenshot of the 25-year-old crossing the finish line as they congratulated him on ‘one of the most remarkable wins of his career nowadays”.

He got up at 6 a.m. that day to catch the train to the race and had to run with a bib without his name on it – names on bibs being reserved for elite runners who also avoid running. pay the registration fee.

He revealed that people who showed up to watch the race on Monday were all calling Mo Farah’s name because they had no idea who he was.

“Nobody knows who I am,” he said. “I’m just a club runner. I just wanted a tough race – didn’t even wear my watch.

Born in September 1996, Cross studied at Polesworth School in Tamworth, Staffordshire, before going to St Mary’s University, Twickenham. The university is popular with athletic talent due to its state-of-the-art facilities and on-campus running track – 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 business assistant. She’s a pretty practical endurance runner herself, running 10km in under 40 minutes, and has competed in South of England and Cross Country Championships.

Cross appeared on BBC Breakfast on Tuesday morning where he revealed he would be back at work just over 24 hours after beating Olympic champion Mo Farah

Cross appeared on BBC Breakfast on Tuesday morning where he revealed he would be back at work just over 24 hours after beating Olympic champion Mo Farah

In a December 2021 interview, Cross spoke about the scope of athletics, comparing its lack of fanfare to horse racing, which sees thousands of people show up to watch, and asked what the difference is between humans and horse racing.

He told Views From the Concourse: ‘You go to something like horse racing, you get a significant amount of money and people are happy to put money in, they can spend a whole day and watch it . You show up and watch people run and you get nothing.

Cross, who received funding through college and during the two years he was sponsored, is now using the money he earns fitting customers with new running trainers at Up & Running to help to fund his training.

“I told people at the university to seize this opportunity and make every moment count.

“An athlete in our sport, the best part of funding is student funding.”

Winning yesterday’s race came with a £2,000 prize which Birmingham City football fan Cross hopes to spend on buying a home, while hoping the recognition of this race will will help earn an elite entry into races in the future.

He said: ‘That would be nice, wouldn’t it! Free entry goes a long way for someone like me.

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