John Frazer will start favourite for Saturday’s 23rd Albertville 5 Miles Road Race at Duncrue Industrial Estate over a very fast, flat course.
The 2h 18m marathon runner from St Malachy’s and Crusaders ran well over today’s distance at Raheny and can win from former Northern Ireland champion Brian Campbell.
North Belfast should dominate the team contest with Alan O’Hara, Mark McKinstry, Conor Curran, Andrew Considine and Eddie Cooke.
Louise Smith will attempt to add the Ladies race to her Masters crown. The event, won last year by Fionnuala Britton, should be hotly contested with Rachel Gibson, Claire Connor and Catherine Diver all having chances. The action starts at 2pm.
Meanwhile, Declan Reed will be fancied to win the SSE Airtricity 10K which starts from Ebrington Square, Derry at 12noon on Sunday.
The City of Derry athlete added the Northern Ireland and Ulster Senior titles to his Masters wins three weeks ago and will be hard to oppose.
Scott Rankin can take a rostrum place with Emmett McGinty, Greg Roberts, Noel Logan and hopefully Keith Shiels all taking leading positions.
Ann Marie McGlynn ran very strongly for sixth at the Armagh International and can seal victory here from Letterkenny team-mate Natasha Adams, with Claire McGuigan also featuring.
City of Derry have a strong trio with Jackie McGinley, Catherine Whoriskey and Sarah Kivelehan.
The mountain racing season opens today at Slieve Gullion with Newcastle’s Seamus Lynch fancied to defend his title.
He will be challenged by Jonny Steede, Deon McNeilly, David Steele and Neil Carty with a close race expected.
Diane Wilson is the Ladies holder and the Dromore athlete can be prominent again along with Lagan Valley trio Shileen O’Kane, Hazel McLaughlin and Anne Sanford. Karen Alexander is a possible and would start favourite if she competes.
Finally, Paul Pollock set a personal best when he placed 10th in his 3000 metres semi final at the European Indoor Championships in Prague. Pollock was third for most of the first half of the race but then dropped back although he still ran 7:58.78.
The Irish 800 metre runners were in great shape with Mark English winning his heat in 1:48.10 and Declan Murray coming second in his race with 1:49.69 while Ciara Everard qualified as a fastest loser after running a season’s best of 2:02.69 in third.
Dara Kervick was fourth in his 400 semi with Gerard O’Donnell coming sixth in his hurdles heat.