The 2015 international season gets going this Saturday for several athletes with Washington ties, with the Great Edinburgh XCountry International Challenge meet at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Garrett Heath of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts (above/photo courtesy Brooks) leads the charge in the men's invitational 4k race, as he was the upset winner in last year's event, beating the likes of Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, and Kenya's Asbel Kiprop.
Added to the mix in the invitational 4k are the likes of former Oregon resident Dathan Ritzenhein, who won the Campaccio 10k cross country race in Italy a few days ago; Kiprop, who obviously is looking to turn the tables on Heath; a quintet of Kenyans in James Magut, Silas Kiplagat, Thomas Longosiwa, Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi; and Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat, who is making a rare appearance as a pro in a cross country race.
Saturday's invitational 4k marks the first cross country race run by the 40-year old Lagat since September 17, 2010, when he finished second behind Arizona's Stephen Sambu at the Dave Murray Invitational in Tuscon over a 4.25 mile course, where he ran 20:09, a step behind Sambu.
In the senior men's 8k race, reigning USA and defending Great Edinburgh champ Chris Derrick of the Portland-based Bowerman TC leads the field that includes his former Stanford teammate and Bellingham native Jake Riley. They'll both be part of a Team USA squad that will race a British team and a European all-star squad.
The women's 6k race will see the Brooks Beasts' Angela Bizzarri, a former NCAA cross country champion on the USA squad with NCAA 10000m champ Emma Bates of Boise State and Tara Erdmann of the Nike Oregon Project. They'll also face a British squad led by defending champion Gemma Steel and a European all-star team.
In the junior men's 6k, Seattle Prep graduate Joe Hardy, who currently competes for the University of Wisconsin, will be part of the USA squad.
In a unique 2k relay race, Riley Masters of the Brooks Beasts will partner with Minnesota's Heather Kampf, as each will run 1000 meters.
USATF.tv, powered by media partner RunnerSpace.com, will provide live streaming coverage of the Great Edinburgh XCountry International Challenge starting at 5 am, pacific time Saturday morning.
Courtesy of Alberto Stretti, here is the start lists for the meet.
Eastern Washington University recently released its 2015 indoor and outdoor season preview. as they return 11 previous All-Big Sky Conference performers, four league champions, four school record holders, and a wealth of newcomers that creates a roster that sets them up to be one of the top teams in the Big Sky.
Eastern has a competitive schedule this year, highlighted by the Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships, hosted by EWU at Roos Field in Cheney on May 13-16.
The Eagles are led by NCAA qualifiers Jordan Arakawa (HT), Emma Murillo (JT), and Catie Arrigoni (steeple), along with Big Sky cross country champ Sarah Reiter and world juniors steeple finalist Paula Gil-Echevarria.
NOTE: The IAAF, Great Edinburgh XCountry organizers, USA Track & Field, and Eastern Washington University contributed to this report.