Former European U20 1500m champion Jake Wightman will lead Scotland’s A team in the defence of the Stewart Cup at the 4 x 1K International Relay at the Great Edinburgh XCountry event.
The live televised relay has been a big hit over the past two years with the host nation winning the inaugural trophy in January 2016 with Wightman part of the winning quartet.
With Laura Muir now selected to represent GB and NI in the race, it means no fewer than nine Scots will savour a great international opportunity and compete in front of a home crowd.
In fact, the Scotland A team is made up of four GB and NI internationals at various age-groups with Jake being joined by U23 track medallist Neil Gourley, World Indoors 3000m representative Josephine Moultrie and European U20 800m finalist Mhairi Hendry.
There’s a development element to the Scotland B team with two teenagers picked – GB international Ben Greenwood and Scottish U20 4K champion Jemma Reekie – as well as Jack Walker and Katy Brown.
‘Three years ago this event didn’t even exist as an international opportunity so we’re really pleased with the way it is growing,’ said Mark Munro, scottishathletics chief executive.
‘We’re delighted that Great Run have allowed Scotland to enter an A and a B team as that gives more athletes exposure to a big televised event and running in front of the Holyrood Park crowd on what is always a great occasion.
‘With Laura involved with GB and NI, that numbers rises to nine Scots in an event with 32 athletes as eight teams of four contest podium places.
‘And we mustn’t forget that there are athletes like Callum Hawkins, Steph Twell and Beth Potter taking part in the longer XC races that day, as well.
‘Back in January this year, Josh Kerr and Carys McAulay were involved in the B team and in keeping with our desire to develop National Academy graduates, and help ‘bring on’ our best young athletes, there are selections this year for Ben Greenwood and Jemma Reekie. Both are very hard-working young athletes who have made a lot of progress in the past couple of years.
‘We say well done to all the athletes selected for Scotland to their coaches and clubs for working hard on their development – both recently and over the years.’
The Great Edinburgh International XCountry takes place in the iconic surroundings of Holyrood Park, Edinburgh. The event is free to spectate and will be shown live on BBC One and BBC One HD from 1.15pm on 7 January 2017.
Scotland A: Jake Wightman, Neil Gourley, Mhairi Hendry, Josephine Moultrie
Scotland B: Ben Greenwood, Jack Walker, Jemma Reekie, Katy Brown