GB Team set for BUPA Great Edinburgh

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  • GB Team set for BUPA Great Edinburgh

The 25th BUPA Great Edinburgh XCountry on 11 January is one of the leading international races of the winter and the home nation will look to Belgrade stars Emelia Gorecka, Gemma Steel, Charlotte Purdue and Andy Vernon who make part of a 36-strong squad which also includes many of the team medallists from the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade a month ago.

Last year the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team just missed on winning the event as they lost to Team Europe. The USA are part of the line up for a series of races in the picturesque setting of Holyrood Park.

It is a big day for Gorecka, who is 20 at the end of January, as she is making her debut as a senior in Scotland.

She has eight medals from the SPAR European Cross Country Championships - including team gold from Belgrade - and she will be aiming to make her mark on this new stage.

The women's team is led by captain Gemma Steel who left Belgrade with silver, while alongside them will be Charlotte Purdue, who won bronze in the Under-23 women’s race at the European Championships.

There will be a big Scottish presence in the British senior women's team including Steph Twell, the 2008 World Junior 1500m champion and another member of the successful team in Serbia, Rhona Auckland and Freya Ross.

Andy Vernon produced a brilliant finish to win bronze in Belgrade and he will captain the men's senior team.

Vernon made the podium in a photo-finish ahead of Jeroen D'hoedt, of Belgium, and left with two bronzes as Britain took team third.

He will be joined in Edinburgh by three of that squad - Keith Gerrard, Adam Hickey and Charlie Hulson.

But the British men could be hard to beat as they also include five of the gold medal-winning Under-23 men’s team from Belgrade in Luke Caldwell, Jonathan Hay, Callum Hawkins, Dewi Griffiths and Jack Goodwin.

The women's Under-20 team won bronze in Belgrade and four of those runners will join forces in Edinburgh, with Bobby Clay, Jessica Gibbon, Amy Griffiths and Lydia Turner looking to combine in style again.

The men's under-20 team is led by Matthew Shirling who was 15th in Belgrade on his debut at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships.

Martin Rush, British Athletics Event Lead for Endurance, said: “We’ve been able to select strong teams with the majority of our medal winners from Belgrade returning to compete in Edinburgh.

“This is a great opportunity for our athletes to get a taste of international competition and allows younger athletes to continue their progression and make an appropriate step up to the senior ranks.”

The day also features a men’s International 4k and a mass participation 5k.
GB & NI team.

Senior Men:
Andrew Butchart, Luke Caldwell, Keith Gerrard, Jack Goodwin, Dewi Griffiths, Jonathan Hay, Callum Hawkins, Adam Hickey, Charlie Hulson, John McDonnell, Andy Vernon, Steve Vernon.
Senior Women:
Jessica Andrews, Rhona Auckland, Julia Bleasdale, Katie Brough, Lauren Deadman, Emelia Gorecka, Lauren Howarth, Lily Partridge, Charlotte Purdue, Freya Ross, Gemma Steel, Steph Twell.
Junior Men:
Jack Crabtree, Jamaine Coleman, Alex George, Scott Halsted, Zak Miller, Matthew Shirling.
Junior Women:
Alex Clay, Bobby Clay, Jessica Gibbon, Amy Griffiths, Harriet Knowles-Jones, Lydia Turner.

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