Photo: Bobby Gavin

Great Edinburgh International XCountry

An event not to be missed by sports fans as stars of world cross country descend on Holyrood Park for the Great Edinburgh International XCountry.  And it’s free viewing for all spectators!

Great Edinburgh International Cross Country

The Great Edinburgh XCountry pits the best of Team GB & NI against Europe and the USA.  Athletes compete across four races; the junior men’s 6km, the junior women’s 4km, senior men’s 8km and senior women’s 6km.  The overall winning team will be determined by the best aggregate finishing positions of the six best placed athletes in the senior category, as well as the four best placed athletes in the junior races.  Andy Vernon and Jessica Judd are among the GB athletes to look out for in the senior races.

British record holder over 1500m Laura Muir (main picture) is in action for the third successive year.  Muir takes part in the International Mixed Relay event which will see national teams of four (two men and two women) compete in a 4x1k challenge.  The prize for the winning team is the ‘Stewart Cup’ named after Scottish running legends Ian and Lachie Stewart.

In total four Scottish athletes are due to wear GB and NI vests – Laura Muir in the International 4 x 1K Relay, Mhairi Maclennan in the Senior Women’s race and Erin Wallace and Eloise Walker in the Junior Women’s race.  And while Muir is set to anchor the GB and NI team in the relay eight other Scots are taking part, including Jake Wightman and Olympian Steph Twell, to form strong-looking Scotland ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams (full teams below).

A full day of action at the Great Edinburgh International XCountry starts with the Great Edinburgh Winter run for amateur participants from 9.40am, followed by junior races throughout the morning.

In the afternoon from 1.20pm all eyes will turn to the main events, the senior races, starting with 4 x 1k International Mixed Relay.   That’s followed by the Great Edinburgh XCountry women’s 6k at 1.55pm with the men’s 8k at 2.35pm concluding the action.

The full running order for the day can be viewed via this timetable.  All of the events are free to spectate out on the course, and will also be shown on the big screen in Holyrood Park, in what is a great opportunity to watch world-class athletes up close and personal as they navigate the Scottish mud and hills.

Scotland A Team for the International Mixed Relay: Jamie Williamson (Springburn Harriers); Steph Pennycook (Fife AC/Edinburgh Uni Hare and Hounds); Jake Wightman (Edinburgh AC); Steph Twell (Aldershot, Farnham and District)

Scotland B Team: Sol Sweeney (Perth Strathtay/Glasgow); Mhairi Hendry (VP-Glasgow); Ben Potrykus (Pitreavie AAC); Philippa Millage (VP-Glasgow)

The Great Edinburgh International XCountry is just the start of plenty more athletics action to come in 2017, both indoor and outdoor.  For the latest news on that and other great spectator sport in Scotland sign up for our free weekly newsletter!