Three-time IAAF world road running champion, Zersenay Tadese, leads a stacked field for Saturday's BUPA Great Edinburgh International Cross Country in Holyrood Park, the venue for last year's IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
The Eritrean star, still the only Olympic medalist in his nation's history, will face three terrific Kenyans, including reigning Olympic 5000m silver medalist Eliud Kipchoge; 2007 world cross country championships bronze medalist Bernard Kipyego; and 2004 world junior 5000m champion Augustine Choge.
Tadese finished second in this event last year, contested over 9.3 km, with Kipchoge third. Both men were beaten by last year's double Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele, but the Ethiopian star is nursing a stress fracture and cannot defend his title.
Other key invited athletes include 8-time European cross country champion, Sergey Lebid of Ukraine, and Olympian Jorge Torres, of the United States. The top home nation athletes are Beijing Olympians Andrew Lemoncello (steeplechase) and Dan Robinson (marathon). Andy Baddeley, Europe's fastest miler last year, is the leading entrant in the separate 4 km short cross.
The women will race over 5.6 km, and Kenyan 10,000m record holder Linet Masai is the top entrant. Fourth in last summer's Beijing Olympic 10,000m, she should expect a spirited fight from Britain's top junior, Steph Twell, who is fresh of her first senior victory at the international cross country in Antrim, N.I. last weekend. The 2007 IAAF World Championships 5000m silver medalist, Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya, is also competing, plus 2008 world cross silver medalist, Mestewat Tufa of Ethiopia. Jessica Augusto of Portugal and is the best athlete from the European Continent who is entered.
Complete annotated start lists are available , courtesy of Nova International, the event organizer. RRW will publish detailed results in next Monday's issue.