Freya Ross (née Murray) will be one of five Scots in the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team taking on the best women from the USA, the rest of Europe and an international select at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country international challenge in Holyrood Park tomorrow (5 January). The race will be one of two cross country events the Edinburgh native is competing in before concentrating on a spring time marathon (most likely London).
The 29-year-old recently made the decision to focus full-time on running as she takes a break from her job as an engineer. This involves moving to Colorado for an extended spell under coach Steve Jones' supervision.
Freya said of the move: "I've never been full-time before so a month or two down the line I might be completely bored and go: 'forget this'. But I'm going to give it a try and see how it works out and see what difference it makes."
One of Ross's teammates is fellow Scot, Steph Twell, whose participation in the women's 3k marks her first major appearance since undergoing the surgery that forced her to miss the Olympics. Ross warned spectators not to expect too much from Twell in her comeback event: "She's been out for a while and it's not fair to put a lot of pressure on her to be out there leading the field in her first big race back since a rather nasty operation. It's good to see her back and I'm sure over the next few months she'll come on in leaps and bounds so that by the track season, she's back to her best."
In the men's event, Spain's Ayad Lamdassem is looking to defend his title from last year and is expecting a challenge from European Cross Country runner-up Hassan Chahdi of France and nine-time champion Sergiy Lebid in a strong European squad. Scott McDonald from Alloa will line up alongside Steve Vernon.
There will be coverage of the event on BBC1 from 13:00 to 14:30.