Mo Farah finished second in the Great Edinburgh cross country.

Mo Farah forced to settle for second place as Garrett Heath claims Edinburgh win

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Mo Farah for once came off second best in a sprint finish as the double Olympic champion was beaten in his first race of 2016.

The 32-year-old finished two seconds behind American Garrett Heath at the Great Edinburgh International cross country, finishing the eight kilometres course in Holyrood Park in 25 minutes 31 seconds.

The Briton, kicking off a year he hopes will culminate in the defence of his Olympic titles over 5,000 and 10,000 metres in Rio, battled through the mud in the bitter cold, a far cry from the conditions he will face in Brazil in August.

"You don't want to lose the race, but it's better to lose now than later in the year," Farah said on BBC One.

Heath, now a three-time winner in the Scottish capital, added: "I kept waiting for Mo to kick past me in the home stretch, because I could hear people shouting."

The finishing speed which serves Farah so well on the track, though, was negated by the slippery conditions underfoot as the American held on to come home strongly.

Second place, however, was still an acceptable return in his first race since winning the Great North Run last September.

Next Farah heads for a training stint in Ethiopia ahead of his appearance at the Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix on February 20.

Elsewhere, Kate Avery won the 6km women's race.

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