Bedford sees a host of fine performances as British athletes aim for championships selection
Cross country quality for EdinburghDecember 14, 2017
GB, Europe and USA name strong teams for the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh XCountry
Many of the most successful athletes from this month’s European Cross Country Championships in Slovakia will test themselves against a United States team in the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh XCountry on January 13 in Edinburgh.
In the absence of the now biennial World Cross Country Championships in 2018, the event is the biggest cross-country meeting of the winter and will see the reigning European senior champions from Turkey – Kaan Kigen Özbilen and Yasemin Can – testing their stamina on the gruelling Holyrood Park course against a British team that will enjoy home support and a US team that is traditionally strong in depth.
Facing Can in the women’s race is Emelia Gorecka, who won this race in tough conditions in 2015. Fionnuala McCormack, the former European champion from Ireland, should also be in the mix as one of Can’s Europe team-mates.
Jess Judd, the European under-23 bronze medallist, is another host nation contender, while Harriet Knowles-Jones, who made the AW cover after winning the under-20 women’s race in Slovakia, steps up to the senior women’s race in Edinburgh.
Against Özbilen in the men’s race, the French duo who finished one-two in the European under-23 race in Slovakia, Jimmy Gressier and Hugo Hay, will hope to challenge.
The British team, meanwhile, is led by Ben Connor, while Andy Vernon will be aiming to demonstrate that he should have been in the GB team for the Euro Cross. Callum Hawkins and Mo Farah, however, miss the event this year as they are preparing for spring marathons.
The mixed relay returns in Edinburgh and is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser with Laura Muir again poised to anchor Britain to gold, although she will have to rely on team-mates Alex Bell, Adam Clarke and Tom Marshall to put her in a strong position first.
Bell has only this month been called up into the Commonwealth Games team in the 800m, so will be looking for a strong run as she builds toward the Gold Coast, while Marshall anchored GB to Euro gold in Slovakia.
The European mixed relay team is an all-Spanish squad, while Scotland will field two relay quartets with its A team consisting of Cameron Boyek, Steph Pennycook, Jake Wightman and Steph Twell.
The United States’ squad features defending men’s champion Leonard Korir and three-time winner Garrett Heath, while Olympic marathon seventh-placer Desi Linden drops down in distance to lead the American women.
The relay will see sub-13:20 5000m runner Will Geoghegan and steeplechaser Travis Mahoney team up with 2017 NCAA 1500m sixth-placer Rebecca Mehra and Ayla Granados to try and move up one spot to top of the podium after a second-place finish this year.
The event will be televised on BBC1 and is also free to watch for spectators.
Great Britain & Northern Ireland
Senior women: Katie Bingle, Philippa Bowden, Louise Damen, Emelia Gorecka, Jess Judd, Harriet Knowles-Jones, Phoebe Law, Mhairi MacLennan, Verity Ockenden
Senior men: Ben Connor, Patrick Dever, Nick Goolab, Andrew Heyes, Mahamed Mahamed, Jack Martin, Chris Olley, Alex Teuten, Andy Vernon
Mixed relay: Alex Bell, Adam Clarke, Tom Marshall, Laura Muir
Under-20 women: Phoebe Barker, Niamh Brown, Cari Hughes, Khai Mhlanga, Eloise Walker, Erin Wallace
Under-20 men: Jake Heyward, Ricky Lutakome, Tom Mortimer, Hugh Sadler, Lachlan Wellington, Matthew Willis
Senior women: Meraf Bahta (SWE), Roxana Barca (ROU), Ancuta Bobocel (ROU), Isabelle Brauer (SWE), Elena Burkard (GER), Yasemin Can (TUR), Nuria Lugueros (ESP), Fionnuala MCormack (IRL), Cristina Simion (ROU)
Senior men: Polat Kemboi Arikan (TUR), Soufiane Bouchikhi (BEL), Hassan Chahdi (FRA), Jimmy Gressier (FRA), Hugo Hay (FRA), Aras Kaya (TUR), Daniel Mateo (ESP), Adel Mechaal (ESP), Kaan Kigen Ozbilen (TUR). Reserve: Emmanuel Rudolff Lévisse (FRA)
Mixed relay: Jesus Gomez (ESP), Esther Guerrero (ESP), Solange Pereira (ESP), Victor Ruiz (ESP)
Under-20 women: Nadia Battocletti (ITA), Roos Blokhuis (NED), Carla Gallardo (ESP), Jasmijn Lau (NED), Cristina Ruiz (ESP), Delia Sclabas (SUI). Reserves: Emine Akbingol (TUR), Mariana Machado (POR)
Under-20 men: Luca Alfieri (ITA), Adrian Garcea (ROU), Mario Garcia (ESP), Simen Halle Haugen (NOR), Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR), Annasse Mahboub (ESP). Reserve: Ouassim Oumaiz (ESP)
Senior women: Chelsea Blaase, Anne-Marie Blaney, Desiree Linden, Rosa Moriello, Olivia Pratt, Natosha Rogers, Molly Seidel, Makenna Smith, Katrina Spratford
Senior men: Emmanuel Bor, Chris Derrick , Trevor Dunbar, Garrett Heath, Leonard Korir, Ian La Mere, Ryan Mahalsky, Morgan Pearson, Abbabiya Simbassa
Mixed relay: Will Geoghegan, Travis Mahoney, Ayla Granados, Rebecca Mehra
Under-20 women: Kelsey Chmiel, Maggie Farrell, Katelynne Hart, Claudia Lane, Cailie Logue, Emily Venters
Under-20 men: Drew Bosley, Dustin Horter, Dylan Jacobs, Danny Kilrea, Clayton Mendez, Graydon Morris
» This post was updated on December 23 following confirmation of the USA team and further updated on January 8 following the replacement of Amy Griffiths, Elle Vernon, Dewi Griffiths and Sam Stabler with Verity Ockenden, Louise Damen, Jack Martin and Andy Heyes on the GB team