With just a week to go before the 36th Antrim Cross Country International at Greenmount the organisers have announced that former winner Steff Twell will be returning to face double European champion and holder Fionnuala Britton.
Twenty-three-year-old Twell from the Aldershot Club was a triple gold medallist in the European Juniors in 2006/07/08 and showed her class by winning at Greenmount in 2009 by just one second from Deirdre Byrne.
She has a tremendous pedigree on the track also winning the World Junior 1500 in 2008 and reaching the semi final of the Olympics in the same year. She came seventh in the 2010 Europeans and also took a bronze medal in the Commonwealth 1500 and came fourth at 5000.
Steff started 2011 in great form but suffered a horrific leg injury in a cross country fall in Belgium. She missed the summer season but then came back with second places in the English National and Intercounties last year.
The clash with Fionnuala Britton the only woman to successfully defend the European title should be enthralling. Fionnuala won comfortable at Greenmount last time.
Both Fionnuala and Steff will be competing in the Great Edinburgh Cross Country today along with Euro eighth placer Linda Byrne another competitor at Greenmount.
The line up includes the European silver and bronze medallist Anna Dulce Felix of Portugal and Adrienne Herzog of Holland.
Also revealed for the Men’s race at Greenmount are five World class Africans and two top English competitors.
Athletes from the dark continent have dominated the event in recent seasons.
Africans have taken the gold medal in 19 of the last 21 runnings with only multi European champion Sergey Liebid of Ukraine in 2003 and American marathon star Dathan Ritzenhein in 2005 interrupting the sequence.
Bernard Rotich came third at Greenmount last year behind three times winner Mike Kigen.
The 29-year-old Kenyan has a blistering 61:28 for half marathon set in Glasgow and has also run 2:10:28 for the full marathon.