Reigning champion Bobby Mack will be aiming to continue his consistent record when he returns to defend his title at the Bupa Great Edinburgh XCountry on 11 January.
Mack won a thriller for Team USA last year in the annual match against a Great Britain & Northern Ireland Team and Team Europe over a tough eight kilometre course in the Scottish capital’s scenic Holyrood Park.
Now the 29-year-old, who first showed his credentials at the 2012 meeting when he finished runner-up, will face his first big challenge of the New Year, no doubt bolstered by gaining even more experience in this year’s World Cross Country Championships. “Bobby was a member of the American team which shocked their rivals when they won team silver medals behind Ethiopia and finished ahead of Kenya, the world’s most dominant distance running nation,” said Peter Riley, the meeting’s elite athlete manager.
“Chris Derrick, who shared in a glorious day for Team USA in Poland, has also committed himself to taking part in the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country, which selectors consider a very important fixture in the winter season.”
Derrick and Mack will be wary of fellow countryman Joseph Gray, who captured the USA National Clubs Cross Country title on 18 December.
“Gray’s a very talented 27-year-old world class trail runner, who was named USA Athlete of the Week for that performance. I’m sure the hilly terrain of Holyrood Park should prove no problem for him,” added Riley.
This is the event’s 25th anniversary, and it has featured some of the world’s best athletes since its inception in 1988.
It also features a Men’s International 4K and a mass participation 5k, the Bupa Great Winter Run, which will see around 2,500 amateur runners tackle a multi-terrain course ahead of the elite races.