Laura Muir, one of the world’s fastest 1500m runners in 2014, will be leading the home challenge in an innovative mixed team international relay race in the Great Edinburgh XCountry at Holyrood Park on Saturday.

Five months on from Glasgow 2014, the 21-year-old veterinary student will be back in a Scotland vest to run the opening leg for her country in a novel 2 x 1km cross country relay race.

Muir will hand over the baton to Ross Matheson, running for the Scotland A team against rival international pairs representing Great Britain, USA, Italy, Ireland, Wales, England A, England B and Scotland B – with female runners contesting the first lap and males the second.

“It’s an interesting prospect,” said Muir, who last Sunday sliced ten seconds off her indoor personal best for 3,000m with an 8min 51.75sec clocking at The Emirates Arena in Glasgow. “I don’t think I’ve ever raced over 1km before, so the distance itself will be quite unusual for me – plus the fact that it’s a cross country race and a relay as well.

“There’s quite a lot in the mix but I think it will be good fun.

“I love running in front of a home crowd and to have a Scottish vest on as well will be great. I just hope I run well for the team.”

Muir was unfortunate to get bumped at the head of the home straight in the Commonwealth Games 1500m final last July, finishing a disappointing eleventh, but she showed world class pedigree in 2014, smashing Yvonne Murray’s Scottish 1500m record with a time of 4min 00.07sec at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris.

The Dundee Hawkhill Harrier, a veterinary student at the University of Glasgow, was 8th fastest in the world in the metric mile last year and also clocked a brisk 2mins 00.67sec for 800m, making major progress under the astute guidance of coach Andy Young.

She will be joined on first leg duty at Holyrood on Saturday by three-times British 800m champion Jemma Simpson, who runs the lead off leg for the England A team, and by England B representative Charlene Thomas, winner of the 1500m at the 2012 European Team Championships in Stockholm.

The two GB runners are Rachael Bamford, who finished seventh in the Commonwealth 3,000m steeplechase final last summer, and Ross Murray, a 1500m semi-finalist at London 2012.

The event also features an International Team Challenge Cross Country event with team GB & N.I. taking on Europe and the USA, a Men’s invitational 4K and a popular mass participation 5K, with a sold out field of 3,000 runners taking on their first event of the year, the Great Winter Run, in the picturesque surroundings of Holyrood Park.

For more information visit greatrun.org/Xcountry / @great_run #GEXC2015

Start list:

Great Britain & NI
Racheal Bamford
Ross Murray

USA
Heather Kampf
Riley Masters

England A
Jemma Simpson
Richard Weir

England B
Gemma Kersey
James Bowness

Scotland A
Laura Muir
Ross Matheson

Scotland B
Jo Moultrie
Grant Muir

Ireland
Maria Cambridge
Danny Mooney

Wales
Tom Marshall
Julia Cooke

Italy
Marco Pettenazzo
Irene Baldessari