Ireland’s two-time winner Fionnuala McCormack, Kenya’s Paul Tanui and Brits Emelia Gorecka, Gemma Steel and Adam Hickey are among the entries
The distance running spotlight falls on Dundonald on Saturday when the Belfast suburb stages the 42nd Northern Ireland International Cross Country – a meeting that incorporates the IAAF World Series, Home Countries Championships, Celtic Games and British Cross Challenge.
After being held in Greenmount for the last decade, this weekend’s races will take place at a football centre of excellence which is named after Northern Ireland player Billy Neill.
The ground is expected to be fast, too, due to Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council carrying out extensive preparations on the land, together with good natural drainage and recent dry weather.
Pauline Kamulu – the world No.1 at 10,000m in 2018 – leads the senior women’s line-up. The Kenyan clocked 30:41.85 in Japan last year and also won bronze at the IAAF World Half-Marathon in Valencia in 66:56.
Rivals in Dundonald include British runners Emelia Gorecka, Gemma Steel, Kate Avery, Emily Hosker Thornhill, Amy Griffiths, Claire Duck, Louise Small and Ireland’s Fionnuala McCormack, the latter having won this race twice in the past.
Other entries include Hawi Feysa, runner-up in the junior race at the 2017 World Cross, plus fellow Ethiopian Meskerem Mamo, the world-leading under-20 last year over 3000m and 5000m.
Paul Tanui, Olympic 10,000m runner-up to Mo Farah in Rio, heads the fields for the men’s 10km. The Kenyan has also won 10,000m bronze three times at the IAAF World Championships and he faces team-mate Richard Yator, a 27:14.70 10,000m man last year, together with Asian Games 5000m champion Birhanu Balew of Bahrain.
British runners in the men’s race include Adam Hickey, Charlie Hulson and Alex Teuten.
10:55 Girls U13 race (2000m)
11:10 Boys U13 race (2000m)
11:30 Girls U15 race (3000m)
11:55 Boys U15 race (3000m)
12:20 Open mixed race (4000m)
12:50 Women’s U20 (IAAF junior women) and girls U17 race (4000m)
13:20 Flahavans Porridge primary school girls race (1200m)
13:35 Men’s U20 (IAAF junior men) and boys U17 race (6000m)
14:00 Flahavans Porridge primary school boys race (1200m)
14:15 Senior international women (8000m)
14:50 Senior international men (10,000m)