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Ross to follow in footsteps of best at Holyrood Park

The Olympics are now of a year past.

Those, like Vivian Cheruiyot, who left London with trinkets have stashed them safely away. For the Kenyan, who won silver and bronze last summer, the focus is on what 2013 might bring rather than resting on past glories. Such is the nature of the beast.

Cheruiyot begins her new campaign today at the Bupa Great Edinburgh cross country, seeking revenge over the Ethiopian Meseret Defar, who nudged her into second place in London to defend her 5000m title. They are part of a strong African contingent in the 3k race in Holyrood Park. Such strength in numbers, she claims, can be expected again next year in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games roll.

It will not be like Delhi, she promises, where mass absenteeism robbed the event of its lustre. "I hope I'll compete," she affirmed. "It's an elite race. When it comes to 2014, it will be on our minds to be prepared for the championships. Glasgow will be good, whereas in Delhi, everybody was worried about security. It was dangerous."

By their own admission, neither Cheruiyot nor Defar will be at their peak. Both plan to skip March's world cross to concentrate on the track season. Freya Ross will follow their lead but the Scot will begin the build-up to an expected spring marathon when she competes for Great Britain in the adjoining 6k-team event against squads from Europe and USA. Ross is already sensing the benefits from a decision to place her engineering career on hold in favour of running full-time. "It just gives me more time to fit in training, recovery and physio. I find I am not rushing around as much as I used to when working. Hopefully, it will help my performances."

Britain's women, fresh from a flurry of medals at last month's European championships, will be spearheaded by continental Under-23 champion Jess Coulson and captained by Julia Bleasdale. Close attention will be given to the performance of Steph Twell, who makes her first major appearance since the surgery that ended her Olympic hopes. "It's fantastic to see her back and competing as part of the British team," Bleasdale declared. "You just hope she can go from strength to strength."

Ireland's Fionnualla Britton, who leads a 12-strong European line-up, will be favourite to win in Holyrood Park for the second year running. "Looking at the field I think it is going to be harder than in 2012," said the European champion. "I have the world cross as a big target so this is ideal for me."

Steve Vernon heads the British squad in the men's 8k with Alloa's Scott McDonald also included. However they may struggle against the depth of Europe who bring France's Hassan Chandi and Ukrainian Sergiy Lebid.

"It will be very tough but after the European cross country championships, the British teams should be confident of doing very well," said Vernon.

The Olympics are now of a year past. Those, like Vivian Cheruiyot, who left London with trinkets have stashed them safely away. For the Kenyan, who won silver and bronze last summer, the focus is on what 2013 might bring rather than resting on past glories. Such is the nature of the beast.

Cheruiyot begins her new campaign today at the Bupa Great Edinburgh cross country, seeking revenge over the Ethiopian Meseret Defar, who nudged her into second place in London to defend her 5000m title. They are part of a strong African contingent in the 3k race in Holyrood Park. Such strength in numbers, she claims, can be expected again next year in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games roll.

It will not be like Delhi, she promises, where mass absenteeism robbed the event of its lustre. "I hope I'll compete," she affirmed. "It's an elite race. When it comes to 2014, it will be on our minds to be prepared for the championships. Glasgow will be good, whereas in Delhi, everybody was worried about security. It was dangerous."

By their own admission, neither Cheruiyot nor Defar will be at their peak. Both plan to skip March's world cross to concentrate on the track season. Freya Ross will follow their lead but the Scot will begin the build-up to an expected spring marathon when she competes for Great Britain in the adjoining 6k-team event against squads from Europe and USA. Ross is already sensing the benefits from a decision to place her engineering career on hold in favour of running full-time. "It just gives me more time to fit in training, recovery and physio. I find I am not rushing around as much as I used to when working. Hopefully, it will help my performances."

Britain's women, fresh from a flurry of medals at last month's European championships, will be spearheaded by continental Under-23 champion Jess Coulson and captained by Julia Bleasdale. Close attention will be given to the performance of Steph Twell, who makes her first major appearance since the surgery that ended her Olympic hopes. "It's fantastic to see her back and competing as part of the British team," Bleasdale declared. "You just hope she can go from strength to strength."

Ireland's Fionnualla Britton, who leads a 12-strong European line-up, will be favourite to win in Holyrood Park for the second year running. "Looking at the field I think it is going to be harder than in 2012," said the European champion. "I have the world cross as a big target so this is ideal for me."

Steve Vernon heads the British squad in the men's 8k with Alloa's Scott McDonald also included. However they may struggle against the depth of Europe who bring France's Hassan Chandi and Ukrainian Sergiy Lebid.

"It will be very tough but after the European cross country championships, the British teams should be confident of doing very well," said Vernon.

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