It would have been fascinating if Edinburgh Athletic Club team-mates Freya Murray-Ross and Emily Stewart had clashed in the same race at the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country International in Holyrood Park on Saturday, for the result might have been close.
But while Scottish champion Murray-Ross finished a disappointing 16th, one place behind fellow Scot Steph Twell, for the GB team in the 6k race against Europe and USA, Stewart, who had dropped out of the European Trials last November, was not chosen.
The bonus, however, for Stewart, who ran superbly in Belgium last month, was that she was added to the Elite Women’s 3k race. It included six outstanding Africans, four Ethiopians and two Kenyans, Lisa Dobriskey, the former World 1500 metres championship silver medallist, Charlene Thomas and fellow Scots Laura Muir and Amy Campbell.
In the event, Stewart not only beat all her fellow Brits, overhauling Dobriskey on the last of three laps, but was given the same time, 10:05, as the current World Cross country champion and 2012 Olympic 5k and 10k silver medallist Vivian Cheruiyot, though the Kenyan star just got the verdict for fifth place.
Up front, Genzebe Dibaba outsprinted Ethiopian team-mate Meseret Defar, the Olympic 5k champion, for victory in 09:46, with Kenya’s long-striding Linet Masai, the early leader and a winner here in 2011, third.
“I enjoy cross country, but I’m only doing one more this winter, the British Universities, to help out Newcastle,” said Stewart, who will continue to aim for the steeplechase in the hope of Commonwealth Games selection.
Murray-Ross, who is preparing for a still-to-be confirmed spring marathon when she hopes not only to win selection for the World Championships in Moscow in August but also secure a Commonwealth Games qualifying time, said: “I’d have liked to have finished higher up, but I’ve put in a lot of hard work and haven’t raced for a while.”
Murray-Ross leaves on January 25 for Colorado for nine weeks altitude training with coach Steve Jones.
Complimenting both Stewart and Muir on their running, she said: “It’s really good to see them coming through.”
Europe, helped by the outstanding victory of Ireland’s twice European champion Fionnuala Britton, won the match with 154 points to Team GB’s 175 with USA, for whom Bobby Mack won the men’s 8k, third with 201.