EDINBURGH – Team USA placed four athletes on the medal stand Saturday at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country International Challenge at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Teams from the United States, Great Britain and Northern Ireland and a select European team competed in men’s and women’s junior and senior races. Each team in the International Team Challenge consisted of nine athletes per team (six on the junior teams) with the first six athletes per team scoring. Great Britain and Northern Ireland took the overall team title, scoring a total 144 points over Team USA’s 196. In cross country, the team with the lowest overall score wins.
In the first race of the day, the junior men’s 6 km, Kirubel Erassa
(Grayson, Ga.) battled with Mark Shaw and Kieron Clements of Great Britain over the first 2 km lap. During the second lap, Shaw and Clements gapped Erassa. Over the final lap, Erassa, a freshman at Oklahoma State University, steadily closed the gap, catching Clements then Shaw. As Erassa sprinted to the line for the win in 1956, Clements overtook his teammate to take the runner-up spot one second later. Shaw ran 19:59.
In the junior women’s 4 km, Erin Finn
(West Bloomfield, Mich.), led the field for the first one kilometer before European Junior champion Emelia Gorecka of Great Britain took charge and steadily pulled away to win in 14:48. Aisling Cuffe
(Cornwall on Hudson, N.Y.) ran 15:09 for the runner-up finish, while Molly Siedel
(Hartland, Wisc.) took third in 15:16.
The senior men’s 8 km saw the European team’s Ayad Lamdassem and Atelaw Bekele lead the field for the first two laps but going into the third lap, Team USA’s Jon Grey
(Minneapolis, Minn.) took command of the race. Going into the final lap, Lamdassem and Bekele began to pull away from Grey while Bobby Mack
(Raleigh, N.C.) emerged from the chase pack. Over the final 400 meters, it looked as though the European team would take the top-two spots Lamdassem pulled clear of Bekele but Mack charged down the finishing straight to edge Bekele for the runner-up position. Lamdassem was timed in 25:44 while Mack and Bekele were given the same time of 25:47. Grey held on for fourth in 25:52.
In the final race of the day, Fionnuala Britton scored another individual win for Europe, dominating the field with a 20 second win as she ran 21:32 in the senior women’s 6 km. Neely Spence
(Shippensburg, Pa.) led Team USA with a fourth-place finish, running 22:11.
A video replay of the race will be available at www.bbc.co.uk/sport
until January 14. For more information and complete results, visit www.greatrun.org