13 December 2012
Following her dominant performance in Budapest last weekend, European under-23 Cross Country Champion Jess Coulson (coach: Mick Woods) will once again pull on the GB & NI vest in the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country on Saturday 5th January at Holyrood Park.
Coulson, from Stockport, was a key member of the British team who finished top of the medals table for the fifth consecutive year at the European Cross Country Championships last Sunday, and will be eager to defend GB & NI’s Edinburgh International title against the USA and Team Europe in the IAAF World Cross Permit series event on the first weekend of 2013.
Two of Scotland’s finest athletes will line up alongside Coulson in what is an exceptionally deep senior women’s squad. Scotland’s 2008 Olympian and Commonwealth 1,500m bronze medallist Steph Twell (Mick Woods) returns for her sixth outing at the Edinburgh international, with London 2012 marathon runner and Edinburgh local Freya Ross (nee Murray) (Steve Jones) lining up alongside her.
Twell, who is continuing her return to peak form after two years of injury problems, will be keen to reiterate her cross country credentials. The 23-year-old former double European junior Cross Country champion has never finished outside the top 10 at the Edinburgh International in five appearances.
29-year-old Ross, meanwhile, finished an excellent fifth at the event earlier this year and having held the title of Scottish Cross Country Champion for the past four years, will be one to watch in front of her home crowd.
Julia Bleasdale (Nic Bideau), who impressively finished in eighth position over both 5,000m and 10,000m at London 2012, will captain the women’s team. The Hillingdon athlete last competed in this event in 2010 when she finished in 13th place in a world-class field.
Steve Vernon (Dave Turnbull) will look to follow up a top-10 finish and British senior men’s team bronze medal at last weekend’s European Cross with another strong outing as he captains the GB & NI men’s team in his fifth Edinburgh International.
The 32-year-old Stockport Harrier will be joined by many of his compatriots from last weekend’s championships in Budapest, including European Cross individual under-23 bronze medallist James Wilkinson (Phil Townsend) and individual junior bronze medallist Kieran Clements (Ricardo Santos).
Scotland’s Scott McDonald (Derek Easton), who picked up a team bronze medal in his Euro Cross debut last week, will compete for the third time.
Of the twelve senior men and women in the GB & NI team in Edinburgh, the top six to cross the finish line will count towards the overall British points score against the USA and Team Europe.
Headlining the GB & NI junior women’s squad is European Cross junior silver medallist Emelia Gorecka (Mick Woods). The World Junior 3,000m bronze medallist is the defending champion in the Scottish capital after a dominant performance saw her take the junior race earlier this year by a massive 21 seconds.
William Paulson (Christopher Frapwell) will look to follow up his team bronze medal in his debut European Cross as he makes his first appearance for GB & NI at the Edinburgh International on the British junior team.
Commenting on the selected teams, Great Britain and Northern Ireland team leader Spencer Barden said:
"We were outstanding when topping the medal table for the fifth successive year at the European Cross with all 36 athletes bringing home a medal. After brilliant endurance performances throughout 2012, I’m sure that the selected GB & NI squad will once again show that we are one of the strongest endurance countries in the world as we enter 2013.”
The International Challenge between the GB & NI team, the United States and Team Europe for all age groups is the 4th leg of this winter's IAAF World Cross Permit series and will be broadcast live on BBC One from 13:00 to 14:30.
Full Great Britain and Northern Ireland team lists for the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country (in alphabetical order):
Kieran Clements (Ricardo Santos)
Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans)
Neilson Hall (Philip O’Dell)
Andrew Heyes (Keith Whitelam)
Adam Hickey (Eamonn Martin)
Simon Horsfield (Norman Poole)
Tom Humphries (Phil Clamp)
Patrick Martin (Dave Turnbull)
Scott McDonald (Derek Easton)
Jonathan Taylor (Gordon Surtees)
Andy Vernon (Nic Bideau)
Steve Vernon (Dave Turnbull)
Elle Baker (Dave Turnbull)
Julia Bleasdale (Nic Bideau)
Jessica Coulson (Mick Woods)
Lauren Howarth (Peter Riley)
Caryl Jones (George Edwards)
Lily Partridge (Mick Woods)
Beth Potter (Mick Woods)
Freya Ross (Steve Jones)
Rosie Smith (Bryan Mackay)
Stephanie Twell (Mick Woods)
Katrina Wootton (Harvey Rose)
TBC - One further team member
Jonathan Davies (Rob McKim)
Matthew Fayers (Stevan Dokic)
Calum Johnson (John Stephenson)
William Paulson (Christopher Frapwell)
Henry Pearce (Mark Hookway)
Benedict Westhenry (Tom Watson)
Alex Clay (Peter Mullervy)
Bobby Clay (James Roberts)
Emelia Gorecka (Mick Woods)
Jessica Judd (Rob Denmark)
Annabel Mason (John Mason)
Rebecca Weston (James Roberts)