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european medallists named in gb & ni team for bupa great edinburgh xcountry

Andy Vernon

12 December 2013

Four individual medallists from the European Cross Country Championships have been named on the GB & NI team for the Bupa Great Edinburgh XCountry, which takes place at Holyrood Park on Saturday January 11.

The GB & NI team will be eager to secure the title that they narrowly missed out on to Team Europe last year, while the USA will also pose a stern test for the 36-strong British team. 12 athletes have been named in both the senior men’s and women’s teams, with the first six athletes across the line to count for the team, with a further six athletes making up the under 20 men’s and women’s teams.

Emelia Gorecka (coach: Mick Woods) will make her first senior cross country appearance in Edinburgh after winning her fourth consecutive European Cross Country Championships medal as she took gold in the under 20 women’s race in Belgrade on Sunday.

This strong GB & NI women’s team will be captained by Gemma Steel (John Nuttall), silver medallist in Belgrade last weekend, as she joins Gorecka in the senior women’s race along with Charlotte Purdue (Woods), who took bronze in the under 23 women’s race. There will also be a strong Scottish contingent in the senior women’s team with former World Junior 1500m champion Steph Twell (Woods), Rhona Auckland (Joyce Hogg) and Freya Ross (Steve Jones) competing on home turf.

The senior men’s team in Edinburgh will be led by team captain Andy Vernon (Nic Bideau), who clinched a dramatic bronze medal in the closing stages in Serbia and finished third in Edinburgh in 2013. The 27 year old will be backed up by three of his bronze medal winning teammates from Belgrade; Keith Gerrard (Art Acevedo), Adam Hickey (Eamonn Martin) and Charlie Hulson (Paul Roden).

Also named amongst the 12 athletes in the senior men’s team for Edinburgh are five of the gold medal winning GB & NI under 23 men’s team from the European Cross Country Championships; Luke Caldwell (Robert Russell), Jonathan Hay (Woods), Callum Hawkins (Robert Hawkins), Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans) and Jack Goodwin (Simon Goodwin).

Four of the GB & NI under 20 women’s team that won bronze in Belgrade will return in Edinburgh, with 16 year old Bobby Clay (Peter Mullervy) lining up alongside Jessica Gibbon (Rob McKim), Amy Griffiths (Woods) and Lydia Turner (Thomas Millmore). Bobby’s sister Alex (Mullervy) is also in the under 20 women’s team along with 15 year old Harriet Knowles-Jones (Russell Tart), who is one of five athletes making their GB & NI debut.

Meanwhile the under 20 men’s team will be led by Matthew Shirling (Adrian Webb), who finished 15th at this first European Cross Country Championships last weekend. The 18 year old will be joined by GB & NI debutant Jamaine Coleman (Andy Bibby) along with Jack Crabtree (Norman Poole), Scott Halsted (Jeff Seddon), Alex George (Paul de-Camps) and Zak Miller (Paul Shaw).

Martin Rush, British Athletics Event Lead for Endurance, believes that these selections represent a strong GB & NI team. He said:

“We’ve been able to select strong teams with the majority of our medal winners from Belgrade returning to compete in Edinburgh. I’m sure that the GB & NI team will perform well on the 25th anniversary of the event.

“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.”

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.

The Bupa Great Edinburgh XCountry will be shown live on BBC1 and BBC1 HD between 1.15-2.45pm on Saturday 11 January 2014.

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

Senior Men

Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton)
Luke Caldwell (Robert Russell)
Keith Gerrard (Art Acevedo)
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)
Andy Vernon (Nic Bideau)
Steve Vernon (Dave Turnbull) 

Senior Women

Jessica Andrews (Woods)
Rhona Auckland (Joyce Hogg)
Julia Bleasdale (self-coached)
Katie Brough (Andrew Carter)
Lauren Deadman (Bill Foster)
Emelia Gorecka (Woods)
Lauren Howarth (Pete Riley)
Lily Partridge (Woods)
Charlotte Purdue (Woods)
Freya Ross (Steve Jones)
Gemma Steel (John Nuttall)
Steph Twell (Woods)

Under 20 Men

Jack Crabtree (Norman Poole)
Jamaine Coleman (Andy Bibby)
Alex George (Paul de-Camps)
Scott Halsted (Jeff Seddon)
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)