Jemma Reekie in action at the Scottish U20s last summer – when she won 1500/800m double (photo by Bobby Gavin)
All roads lead to Holyrood Park this coming weekend as the Great Edinburgh XCountry event takes centre stage.
There’s something for everyone to enjoy from the fun run to International XC featuring Callum Hawkins, Mo Farah and Laura Muir as well as the Inter-District races.
And for young Kilbarchan AAC athlete, Jemma Reekie, the chance to wear a Scotland vest in Auld Reekie at New Year will be a moment to savour.
The 19-year-old was in South Africa training with Muir when the selection was confirmed and she tweeted: ‘Excited to be representing Scotland at Holyrood on January 4 in the International Relay.’
‘It is Jemma’s first Senior Scotland appearance and the first time she will have been involved in a televised event,’ said coach Andy Young, with Jemma selected to race for Scotland B in the 4 x 1K International Relay on Saturday.
‘We heard the news while out in South Africa on a training camp. She was pretty excited about the prospect of being involved in such a big race and competing for Scotland. She has been in the Celtic Games at U18 level before on the track but not anything like this.
‘It’s fair to say she has come on in leaps and bounds in the past 12 months or so. She is training very hard with Laura Muir and obviously that kind of role model helps.
‘Jemma is seeing first hand the dedication that Laura puts into her athletics and I can see her trying to apply herself in the same way. She enjoyed her first experience of training at altitude and hopefully that’s a good base for the rest of the winter.’
Reekie with training partner Laura Muir at the 4K Champs (photo via Twitter)
With the Scottish 3000m Champs at the Emirates Arena on Wednesday night, Reekie will ‘warm-up’ for Edinburgh with a crack at the U20 medals indoors.
Jemma won U20 gold in the 4K Short Course XC Champs at Renfrew early in November and prior to the training trip to South Africa.
Muir’s appearance for GB and NI in the same race means there are no fewer than nine Scots in all competing in a field of 32 athletes – in an international race opportunity which did not exist until a couple of years ago.
Scotland won it last year when the Stewart Cup was up for grabs for the first time, with the format being two men and two women per team for a 4 x 1K race across the mud of Holyrood Park and part of the course for the longer international cross country races.
Here’s a reminder of the team selections:
Jake Wightman (Edinburgh AC), Neil Gourley (Giffnock North), Mhairi Hendry (VP-Glasgow), Jemma Reekie (Kilbarchan AAC)
Ben Greenwood (Perth Strathtay), Michael Ferguson (Aberdeen AAC), Steph Pennycook (Fife AC/Edinburgh Uni), Philippa Millage (VP-Glasgow).
Jake Wightman helped Scotland to relay win in January 2016 (photo by Bobby Gavin)