8 Jan

Britton Defends Title To Seal Victory For Europe

Fionnuala Britton at finish line (courtesy of Getty Images)

Great Britain and Northern Ireland were beaten in the team event at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country on Saturday (5 January) as Europe clinched victory. The Europeans were captained by Irish runner Fionnuala Britton who successfully defended her title in the women's 6k race to seal victory for her team.

Britton said afterwards: "We weren't in first place going into the last race so it's nice to win. I was happy to stay in front until we got over the first logs, but no-one really came up and I had to push on. Once the group was breaking up, there was no point in waiting. I didn't think it would be like that. Everyone was holding back."

22-year-old Jess Coulson was the highest placed Briton in the race, finishing fourth following her victory in the U-23 European Cross Country Championships last year. Olympian Julia Bleasdale was the second British runner home. Steph Twell (15th) and Freya Ross (19th) finished down the field.

Staffordshire's Tom Humphries put in a strong performance in the men's 8k, leading for three laps before being overtaken with 400m to go. The eventual race winner was Bobby Mack of USA. Humphries reflected positively on his performance despite having surrendered his lead: "That's where I want to be, challenging the world's top athletes."

In the women's 3k, Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba took first place on the same course where her elder sister Tirunesh won the world title five years ago. 21-year-old Genzebe won the race ahead of Olympic 5,000m champion and compatriot Meseret Defar, and Kenya's Linet Masai. British athletes Emily Stewart and Lisa Dobriskey finished sixth and seventh respectively.

GB were more successful in the junior women's 4k as all top six spots were occupied by British girls, with 2011 European Cross Country champion Emelia Gorecka crossing the finish line ahead of Jess Judd and Rebecca Weston.

The event was preceded by the Bupa Great Winter Run which saw 2,500 non-elite runners compete in the 5k course at Holyrood Park. The first two male finishers of were Shaun Lyon, 26, from the Isle of Bute, in 17:16 seconds and 37-year-old Patrick Duffy from Tyne and Wear, 37, in 17:33. 17-year-old Isobel Seidel was fastest female in 19:18, followed by 32-year-old Charlotte Fortune from Bo'ness in 19:30.

For full list of results visit our race listings page.