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Taylor on international duty in Edinburgh
TEESSIDER Jonathan Taylor will be aiming to underline his eye-catching form as he joins four other North-East athletes on Great Britain duty in today's BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country International.
The 25-year-old Morpeth Harrier helped Britain win the team silver medals when he finished 11th in last month's Spar European Cross Country Championships in Budapest two weeks after winning the trial at Liverpool and he will be out to prove he is emerging as one of his country's top performers in the winter sport.
Taylor joins former Sunderland Harrier Patrick Martin - now competing for Stockport Harriers - while Gateshead Harrier Calum Johnson races for Great Britain in the junior men's race after finishing second in Spain last month on his England debut.
Chester-le-Street's double Scottish cross country champion Freya Ross (formerly Murray) steps up for her first cross country test of the season on a familiar course on which she finished fifth last year. The recently-married Great Britain international received a late call up for the London Olympic Games marathon, finishing 44th, and this will be her first competitive outing since her ninth placing in the BUPA Great North Run in September.
Durham City Harrier Rosie Smith, who missed chance of going for a third North-East cross country title to make her first Great Britain appearance for eight years in the European Cross Country Championships in Hungary, where she finished a creditable 16th helping Great Britain win the team bronze medals, returns to the venue where she won her first senior England vest last year, finishing 18th.
Competitors are warned to expect sticky conditions underfoot when Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers host their annual Old Monks multi-terrain race over 5.5 miles tomorrow. The race, which starts at Hart Village at 11am, is over public footpaths and bridleways, some of them extremely muddy, and appropriate footwear should be worn.