Next weekend, Holyrood Park will play host to the much-anticipated Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh International XCountry – here is your run-through of the events and how they work.

Thousands of spectators are expected in Edinburgh to witness the mud, the grit and determination of cross country athletics, with the event televised live on BBC One.

Team GB will once again take on Europe and the USA in a thrilling team competition on a tough cross country course in one of Edinburgh's most iconic locations.

The overall winners will be determined by the best aggregate finishing positions of the six best placed athletes in the senior category, as well as the four best placed athletes in the junior races.

This all takes place after the annual mass participation Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run in the morning, where 3,000 runners will blast away the New Year cobwebs on a 5km course around Arthur's Seat.

Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh International XCountry

This consists of three elite races televised live on BBC One plus two junior races. The events are open to invited athletes only. The format of races is as follows:

Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh International XCountry Junior Men's 6km - An international team race with teams of six runners from GBR, USA and Europe

Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh International XCountry Junior Women's 4km - An international team race with teams of six runners from GBR, USA and Europe

Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh XCountry, Women's 6km - An international team race with teams of 12 runners from GBR, USA and Europe

Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh XCountry, Men's 8km - An international team race with teams of 12 runners from GBR, USA and Europe

How is the team event scored?

Teams are awarded points based on the position of their first four runners in junior races and first six runners in senior races (1pt for first, 2 for 2nd etc), the team with the lowest total wins.

After all four team races there will be an overall winning team, with the lowest cumulative score.

Stewart Cup International Relay

Introduced in 2015, the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh International XCountry will once again include an innovative international team relay.  In a world first, pairs of male and female runners representing their countries will take on a 4x1k cross country relay in the picturesque surroundings.

The fast and furious invitational event will feature teams from all the home nations as well as some international teams.

The transition area and the finish line will be located in the XCountry village, giving spectators a perfect vantage point for all the action, and the opportunity to cheer home their athletes.

The team relay does not contribute to the team scores for the International Match.

Scottish Athletics Inter-District Races

These are cross country events of various distances and are open to Scottish Athletics selected athletes only. Each race should consist of around 35 competitors and Scottish Athletics control invites for athletes.

Who to look out for

Men's Senior Race

  • Kaan Kigen Ozbilen (Europe) – 2017 European Cross Country champion
  • Dewi Griffiths (Great Britain) – 2017 Frankfurt Marathon fifth place, 2017 Simplyhealth Great North Run seventh place
  • Ben Connor (Great Britain) – 2017 European Cross Country Championships sixth place, 2017 British Athletics Cross Challenge gold medallist, Simplyhealth Great South Run third place
  • Leonard Korir (USA) – 2017 Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh International XC champion
  • Garrett Heath (USA) Three-time Great Edinburgh International XC winner

Women's Senior Race

  • Harriet Knowles-Jones (Great Britain) – 2017 European Cross Country U20 gold medallist
  • Yasemin Can (Europe) - 2017 European Cross Country gold medallist, 2017 Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh International XC champion
  • Fionnuala McCormack (Europe) - 2012 and 2013 Great Edinburgh International XC champion
  • Desi Linden (USA) – 2016 Olympic Games marathon seventh place
  • Molly Seidel (USA) – 2015 NCAA cross country champion

Stewart Cup International Relay

  • Laura Muir (Great Britain) - 2017 World Championships 1500m fourth place, 2016 Olympic Games 1500m seventh place, British record holder 1500m
  • Cameron Boyek (Scotland A) – Gold medal holder, Euro Cross Mixed Relay
  • Steph Twell (Scotland A) - 2016 European Championships 5,000m bronze medallist
  • Jake Wightman (Scotland A) – 2017 World Championships 1500m semi-finalist

What time does it all start?

The Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run starts at 9.45am, with the Junior Great Winter Run kicking off at 11.45am.

The junior cross country events start at 12.15 with the inter-district events taking place across the morning, from 10.15

Live coverage of the main team events begins at 1.15pm on BBC One.

All event timings are subject to change.

For more information on the XCountry event and up to the minute team announcements, visit greatrun.org/winter

Follow live results on Twitter using #GEXC2018

Timetable

10:15 U15 Girls Inter District + U15 Boys Inter District 
10:40  Senior + Junior Women Inter District
11:10  Senior + Junior Men Inter District
11:50  U13 Girls Inter District + U13 Boys Inter District 3k
12:15  Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh XCountry Junior Men's 6km Inc. U17 Inter District 
12:45  Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh XCountry Junior Women's 4km Inc. U17 Inter District 
13:23  Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh XCountry 4 x 1k Relay*  4 x 1k
13:55  Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh XCountry Women's 6k*
14:35  Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh XCountry Men's 8k*