The first round of the Athletics Northern Ireland Cross Country League is being held at the University of Coleraine on Saturday as part of the Springwell Festival of Running sponsored by Jess Electrical and A Spec Tyre Services.
Keith Shiels the runaway winner of the Masters Trial at Upper Malone will lead a very strong Foyle Valley side which includes Scott Rankin, Chris McGuinness, Pius McIntyre and Cathal McLaughlin.
City of Derry will have Declan Reed, James Brown and Chris McPeake while Sperrin, Omagh, Springwell, Ballymena Runners and possibly North Belfast will also feature.
Individually Shiels will start favourite although he was beaten by team-mate Rankin at Marty’s Run.
Declan Reid, the runner-up at the Waterside, is the reigning Northern Ireland and Ulster Masters champion.
The ladies race will be very hotly contested. Gemma Turley the Causeway Coast 10k winner has had a string of successes this year, Julie Butler and Gillian Wasson ran well at Upper Malone while Ulster Intermediate runner-up Michelle Sturm and Catherine Whoriskey also have claims along with Alex Kirk and Molly Brennan.
There are prizes in all senior categories plus medals for age group finishers. Registration is from 10am at the Sports Pavilion and the timetable is: 11am - Primary schools 800m, 11.20 - U13 boys and girls 1 mile, 11.40 - U15 boys and girls 2 miles, 12.10pm - U17 boys and girls 3 miles, 12.50 - ladies open and vets 3 miles and 1.30 - male open and vets 5 miles.
Meanwhile, Annadale Striders will be defending their team title at the Gerry Farnan Cross Country Festival in Phoenix Park, Dublin on Sunday.
Cross country champion Stephen Scullion and Paul Pollock are possible starters and if marathon star Pollock attends he will be joined on the Annadale squad by Ryan McDermott, Andrew Agnew and Owen Carleton.
Kerry Harty, who has been warm weather training in Font Romeu, plus Julie Turley can take high positions as they look towards selection on the Irish team for the European Championships in December.