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Emelia Gorecka wins Great Edinburgh XCountry

emelia gorecka - edinburgh

Emelia Gorecka provided the highlight of the day for the GB & NI team at the Great Edinburgh XCountry winning the senior women’s race by over seven seconds.

Battling strong winds, sleet and tough conditions underfoot, the 20 year old won her first senior career title in impressive fashion from Europe’s Fionnuala Britton, who matched last year’s performance with a second place finish.

Gorecka said: “A lot of people said after the European Cross Country Championships ‘what happened?’ I just had to put it behind me and the best way to bounce back is have one of the best performances of my career. Particularly with the conditions and not knowing how I was going to run, I couldn’t have wished for anything better.”

“I didn’t decide to make a move until my coach shouted at me and as soon as he did that, the sleet started coming down but all I had to do was dig in and not go backwards. It was a case of strength and not speed today and I just had to stay strong and keep ploughing on.

“To run domestic races is fantastic but to perform well on an international stage is what I want to start doing a lot more often and consistently. I’ve started off on a brand new slate and that’s what I wanted and I think that’s the right mental attitude to have.”

After mixing it in the leading group over the first lap, European Cross Country champion Gemma Steel (John Nuttall) was unable to replicate last year’s victory finishing in 11th place, with Lily Partridge (Woods) four places higher in seventh.

In the senior men’s race, Jonny Hay (Woods) and Charlie Hulson (Paul Roden) produced gutsy performances to finish third and fifth behind 2014 winner Chris Derrick. The British duo were sandwiched between four Americans for the majority of the race but fought hard to maintain their spots in the top five. Team captain Jonathan Taylor (Gordon Surtees) and Adam Hickey (Eamonn Martin) fought right to the end taking 11th and 12th place respectively.

Following his third place finish, Hay said: “I’ve very happy – coming off the Euro Cross I knew I was in great shape so over Christmas it was about putting in some more miles. It’s tough to know how the Americans are going to perform having not raced them since the end of the track season so place wise I wasn’t sure where I was going to end up. Certainly coming third is a happy moment, so I’m really pleased.

In the junior women’s race, just one place separated Phoebe Law (Richard Holt) and Harriet Knowles-Jones (Russell Tart) in fourth and fifth, with GB & NI 15 year old debutant Sabrina Sinha showing maturity beyond her years to cross the line in eighth.

Reflecting on her debut, Sinha said: “I was the youngest in the field and I just came out here to enjoy myself and learn from the experience. I can’t say how honoured I am (to represent GB & NI) and when the kit came it was like opening an early Christmas present.

Jac Hopkins (Kevin Tobin) was the leading British athlete in the junior men’s race finishing in ninth place with Euan Gillham (Robert Hawkins) a place behind in 10th.

“I was only disappointed because I wanted a top six position and I was in the mix of it all. To run 5.9km and get overtaken on the last 100 metres is a bit disheartening, but I’m happy to be the first Brit home and that was one of my main goals considering I was the one that was called out at the start. To beat three of the European boys, who were top six in Bulgaria shows what I can do and it gives me a great deal of confidence.”

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