Date: 9 Jan 2016

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Garrett Heath beats Mo Farah to secure hattrick in Edinburgh

Garrett Heath’s first win at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country two years ago came as something of a shock. He surprised his opponents again one year later when he successfully defended his title, yet few would have put money on him beating double world champion Mo Farah and winning for a third time on Saturday.

But that is exactly what the US distance runner did at Holyrood Park, handing Farah his first cross-country defeat since 2010 in what was the double Olympic champion’s first race of 2016.

In the last race of the day, and after a heavy shower of rain half an hour earlier, the course for the men’s 8km event around Arthur’s Seat was choppy and muddy. Understandably, the race got off to a cautious start with a large group covering the first lap in 6:19.

At the start of the second lap, Farah started to move through the pack and briefly held the lead at the end of that circuit. It was short-lived, however, as Heath, Hawkins and Ross Millington continued to share the lead throughout the third lap.

 

They each had their moments at the front on the last lap, but Heath was the only one who was able to pull clear. He opened up a few metres on Farah leading into the final uphill section. By the time they had negotiated the muddy hill, Heath’s lead had doubled. With the finish line in sight, both Heath and Farah unleashed their finishing kicks, but the Briton was unable to make a dent on Heath’s lead.

Heath crossed the line in 25:29min, two seconds ahead of Farah.

“I didn’t expect to win again,” said Heath. “Mo is such a great runner, I wanted to be up there running with him. I saw my team-mate come up next to me with 800 metres to go and I got excited. I kept waiting for Mo to kick past me in the home stretch, because I could hear people shouting.”

Farah added: “It’s early in the season. I never want to lose a race, but it’s better to lose now than later in the year. Garrett Heath is a great athlete.”

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