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gb & ni team set for bupa great edinburgh xcountry

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10 January 14

A 36 strong Great Britain and Northern Ireland team will compete against teams from the USA and Europe at the Bupa Great Edinburgh XCountry in the picturesque Holyrood Park tomorrow, Saturday 11 January.

12 British athletes will line up in both the men’s and women’s senior races while six will compete in each of the junior races for what is the first international event since GB & NI topped the medal table at the European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade with nine medals last month.

Last year the GB & NI team narrowly lost out to Team Europe but will be hoping to regain the title they won in 2012. Emelia Gorecka (coach: Mick Woods) has won the junior women’s race for GB & NI in both of the last two years but will make her senior cross country debut tomorrow. Last year the GB & NI junior women filled the first six places and have another strong team this time around.

Andy Vernon (Nic Bideau), who turned 28 on Tuesday, will captain the senior men’s team in Edinburgh and is hoping to continue the excellent form that saw him win individual bronze in Belgrade last month.

He said: “I’ve had a good spell since the European Cross and I’m hoping to keep it going tomorrow and progress from the form that I’ve shown. There’s some good guys running like Bobby Mack, who won it last year, Chris Derrick and Bezabeh.”

A strong Scottish contingent will compete on home soil with former world junior 1500m champion Steph Twell (Woods) and Rhona Auckland (Joyce Hogg), seventh in the under 23 race in Belgrade, lining up in the senior women’s race and Callum Hawkins (Robert Hawkins) and Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton) representing the GB & NI senior men’s team.

Twell is looking forward to competing in Scotland at the start of a year in which the Commonwealth Games will come to Glasgow in July.

The 24 year old said: “As a junior I’d race to get myself fit; now I train to deliver in the big races. It’s been a big Christmas to step up my game. I’m training to get back to the athlete I was. The Commonwealth Games is an opportunity to experience what I missed out on in the Olympic Games.”

Watch the action from Edinburgh live on BBC1 and BBC1 HD from 13:15-14:45 on Saturday 11 January and follow @BritAthletics on Twitter for updates.

Full GB & NI team for the Bupa Great Edinburgh XCountry:

Senior Men

Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton)
Luke Caldwell (Robert Russell)
Jack Goodwin (Simon Goodwin)
Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans)
Jonathan Hay (Mick Woods)
Callum Hawkins (Robert Hawkins)
Adam Hickey (Eamonn Martin)
Charlie Hulson (Paul Roden)
John McDonnell (John Stoker)
Frank Tickner (Clive Thomas)
Andy Vernon (Nic Bideau)
Steve Vernon (Dave Turnbull) 

Senior Women

Jessica Andrews (Woods)
Rhona Auckland (Joyce Hogg)
Katie Brough (Andrew Carter)
Lauren Deadman (Bill Foster)
Emelia Gorecka (Woods)
Lily Partridge (Woods)
Charlotte Purdue (Woods)
Chloe Richardson (Peter Stewart)
Lorna Russell (Nick Anderson)
Rosie Smith (Bryan Mackay)
Gemma Steel (John Nuttall)
Steph Twell (Woods)

Under 20 Men

Jack Crabtree (Norman Poole)
Jamaine Coleman (Andy Bibby)
Liam Dee (Simon Doyle)
Alex George (Paul de-Camps)
Zak Miller (Paul Shaw)
Matthew Shirling (Adrian Webb) 

Under 20 Women

Alex Clay (Peter Mullervy)
Bobby Clay (Mullervy)
Jessica Gibbon (Rob McKim)
Amy Griffiths (Woods)
Harriet Knowles-Jones (Russell Tart)
Lydia Turner (Thomas Millmore) 

2014 will be the 25th staging of the Great International XCountry event, which has featured some of the world’s best athletes since its inception in 1988. Taking place in the picturesque surroundings of Holyrood Park, the Bupa Great Edinburgh XCountry also features a men’s International 4k and a mass participation 5k, the Bupa Great Winter Run, which will see around 2,500 hardy amateur runners tackle a multi-terrain course ahead of the elite races.