Garrett Heath will return to Scotland to defend his title in the Great Edinburgh International XCountry next month (7 January 2017). The 32-year-old from Minnesota has claimed victory three times in a row in the mud, grass and hills around Arthur’s Seat and will be hoping to retain his 8k title in the team event between USA, Britain and Europe.
Heath was a surprise winner of the 4k event in 2014 and repeated the trick a year later over the same distance. But few expected Heath, a 1,500m specialist, to finish on top of the field in the 8k team event, which included Farah and experienced cross-country schemers Callum Hawkins and Ross Millington.
The Seattle-based runner is used to confounding the odds, and is looking forward to returning to Scotland as he bids to make it four wins on the trot.
He said of his 2016 experience: “To beat Mo Farah, who I respect so much and has been so dominant in the sport these last few years, was a pretty exhilarating moment. I love competing in the mud, snow, and cold of cross country so having the chance to race some of the best in the world on the course in Edinburgh with a great crowd cheering you on is an absolute blast. Plus, to do it in the US uniform as part of the team competition only makes it more special.”
The Great Edinburgh International XCountry consists of four separate events and pits the best of Team GB& NI against Europe and the USA. The event will also see the return of the innovative International Mixed Relay event where national teams of four (two men and two women) compete in a 4x1k challenge for the Stewart Cup.
The Great Edinburgh International XCountry is televised live on BBC from 13:15 on BBC One and is part of a New Year festival for runners of all abilities held in Holyrood Park, next to the Scottish Parliament.
The Great Edinburgh Winter Run, held on a scenic 5k course that loops around Arthur's Seat, provides the public with a perfect opportunity to blow off the New Year cobwebs before watching the world's best test themselves in the international cross country races.
Entry to the Great Winter Run is available here.