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USA Korir in Edinburgh victory

USA Korir in Edinburgh victory

USA’s Leonard Korir took a surprise victory at the Great Edinburgh International XCountry on Saturday (January 7), out-sprinting Britain’s Callum Hawkins just metres before the finish line.

The event was helped 

Hawkins led from the gun, pushing out from the pack in typical fashion. Last year’s winner, Garrett Heath of the USA, was on the shoulder of the British Olympian for much of the race before fading, with Heath’s compatriot Korir then taking on the challenge of breaking Hawkins’ lead.

After navigating some of the tricky and tight bends the course offered on the final long lap, Hawkins looked to have broken clear of Korir, only for the US runner to sprint past him about 20 metres before the tape. Korir crossed the line in 24:03, one second ahead of Hawkins.

“I kept telling myself that I was going to be number two,” said Korir. “I can’t believe I won.”

Double world and Olympic champion Mo Farah was never a serious factor and eventually finished seventh in 24:49, one place and six seconds behind defending champion Garret Heath.

“It wasn’t what I wanted but it is where I am,” said Farah. “The last bit of training hasn’t gone as well as I would have wanted, but this is a team event and I wanted to come out here and represent my country and help the guys.”

Turkey’s European cross-country champion Yasemin Can, representing the European team, won the women’s 6km event. The 20-year-old won comfortably in 20:36 with Ireland’s Fionnuala McCormack, also representing Europe, 21 seconds adrift.

In the mixed 4x1km relay, which did not count towards the final team match standings, anchor leg runner Laura Muir brought the British team home superbly to win the Stewart Cup. After taking the baton in second place just behind Scotland’s A team, Muir went on to win by seven seconds.

In the junior men's 6km event earlier in the afternoon, USA got their day off to a fine start as Noah Affolder took the victory in 19:29. Britain’s Harriett Knowles-Jones took the first home victory of the afternoon, winning the junior women’s 4km event in 13:56.

USA won the team competition with Europe in second and Britain third.