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News13 Dec 2016

Farah confirmed for Edinburgh XC, setting up rematch against 2016 winner Heath


Garrett Heath pulls away from Mo Farah at the Great Edinburgh X Country (© Getty Images)

Mo Farah will return to the Great Edinburgh International XCountry on 7 January, organisers announced today.

The four-time Olympic champion, who finished second in the race in the Scottish capital last year, will face Garrett Heath of the US, who beat Farah by two seconds in the 2016 edition.

“I am looking forward to the Great Edinburgh Cross Country," Farah said. "Holyrood Park is always a great venue and I’m sure the course will offer the usual challenges.

"I have been back in full training for the past few weeks and this event will offer me a good opportunity to measure my fitness and see how training is going ahead of the 2017 track season.”

"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,” said Heath, who who'll defend his 8km title in the team event between the USA, Great Britain and Europe.

Heath, 31, produced back-to-back victories in Edinburgh's 4km event before it was scrapped in favour of the 8km distance last year.

The European squad will be lead by Aras Kaya and Polat Kemboi Arikan of Turkey, who took gold and silver in the senior race at the European Cross Country Championships last Sunday. They'll be joined by Spaniard Ilias Fifa who finished sixth.

The field will also include Callum Hawkins, who raced to bronze in the men's senior race on Sunday while leading the British squad to the team title.

"It will be a great way to kick-start 2017," said the 24-year-old Hawkins, whose notable 2016 campaign included a ninth place finish in the Rio 2016 Olympic marathon and a 1:00:24 lifetime best over the half marathon.

"It’s a good opportunity to compete back on home soil; it’s an event I always enjoy racing in. 2016 has been incredible for me and hopefully I will continue to head in the right direction in the New Year."

Turkey's Yasemin Can, who dominated the women's senior race at the European Championships, will lead the European women's squad in the Edinburgh clash. She'll be joined by teammate Meryem Akda and Norway's Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal, who finished second and third in Chia.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF