Ireland's Fionnuala Britton en route to her 6Km team race win in Edinburgh (© Mark Shearman)
Fionnuala Britton and Ayad Lamdassem will defend their individual titles in the annual international match between Britain, Team Europe and the United States in the New Year at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country, an IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting.
The Irishwoman and the Spaniard were both convincing winners of their contests at the beginning of this year, and both will be eager to reproduce back-to-back successes in Holyrood Park on January 5.
Britton will be full of confidence having earlier this month retained her European Cross Country Championships crown in sub-zero temperatures in Budapest ahead of Portugal's Dulce Felix and Adrienne Herzog of the Netherlands, who are also included in the European team.
"Fionnuala ran another fantastic race to clinch a second successive gold medal where she kept her nerve, when Felix looked as if she might mount a successful challenge over the final circuit," said Andy Caine, the meeting's elite athletes manager.
"After that victory she immediately confirmed her availability for Edinburgh and that sends out a clear message she is determined to be just as hungry for another win, whatever the conditions may be like."
Lamdassem, a two-time European Cross Country Championships silver medallist, never came to terms with the freezing weather and snow-covered course in Hungary, but despite the setback of not making the podium on that occasion, has been in very impressive pre-Christmas form on the European circuit.
Frenchman Hassan Chahdi, the European Cross runner-up, along with nine-times European title-holder Sergiy Lebid of Ukraine, will be strong contenders to cross the finish line first and earn valuable points in the team race.
"Lamdassem is determined to bounce back from his disappointment in Budapest and show that it was just an off day at a very cold East European venue," said Caine.
"It's also great to see Lebid again in Edinburgh where he has been almost an annual regular at the meeting and I know as team captain he will show from the front his leadership qualities."
The event features the international team challenge which sees senior and junior teams from Britain, the USA and Europe compete in four separate races aiming to take the overall team challenge title.
Organisers for the IAAF