After a disappointing performance at the recent EuropeanCross-Country Championships, Britain’s rising distance star Emelia Goreckatamed the near arctic conditions at a wintry Holyrood Park to claim theprestigious senior women’s title at the Great Edinburgh International Cross-Countrymeeting. Edinburgh’s weather was typical of much of Scotland over the last fewdays, as fans and athletes were keen to wrap up and find warmth, but it did notprevent the young lady from defeating a talented field that had been assembledby the organisers.

Gorecka, a former winner of the junior women’s race inEdinburgh, ran perhaps the best race of her career so far to claim victory by aseven seconds’ margin and relegate former senior race winner Fionnuala Brittonof Ireland into second place, with the Ethiopian (now representing Spain, butrunning for Europe here) Trihas Gebre back in third. Gorecka made her effortwith one kilometre to go and quickly built up a decisive lead that she extendedby the finish.

It represented a marked improvement on her 12thplacing in Bulgaria at the Euros, where she was beaten by several of the ladiesbehind her in the Scottish event. Britain’s next finisher was Lily Partridgeback in seventh place. For Euro champion and last year’s race winner, GemmaSteel, who was expected to feature strongly in the race, things did not go toplan. She was already adrift of the leaders as they entered the second part ofthe race and could not respond afterwards, finishing well back in eleventhplace.

The men’s race over an eight kilometre distance saw thereturning American Chris Derrick retain the title he had won last year, as hewas able to sustain the challenge from his teammate Jacob Riley in second, asthe Americans dominated the top placings with six in the top ten. There wassome cheer for the Brits further down the field, with Jonathan Hay third andCharlie Hulson fifth.

The shorter men’s 4km race also saw a repeat of theresult twelve months ago, as another American Garrett Heath successfullydefended his title.

Tracking Kenya’s former Olympic and twice world 1500mchampion Asbel Kiprop through the opening part of the race, as the muddyconditions held the pace of the race back, he was always in contention. At thehalfway point the leaders also included world cross-country champion JaphetKorir and fellow Kenyan Thomas Longosiwa, with previous winner Augustine Chogeclosing on the front group. Heath made his move shortly after with only Korirfor company initially, but even he had to yield as the American piled on thepressure and moved well clear by the finish.

First British finisher was TomLancashire back in fifth position, just behind Kiprop.

Overall, it was a slightly disappointing event for theGreat Britain athletes in the tri-nation team event, as they finished a distantthird behind victors the United States, with the combined team from Europetaking second place. The team title was decided by the results across both ofthe longer distance senior races as well as the two junior events decidedearlier in the afternoon, which were won by Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa in themen and America’s Makena Morley in the ladies.

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