Jarlath Falls is expected to take his ninth victory in Thursday’s Race Over The Glens – promoted by Ballymena Runners – in the spectacular surroundings of Glenariff Forest Park.
Falls, from the Ballymena and Antrim Club, has made the race his own although he was beaten into second by Jonny Steede in 2012.
He recently showed his wellbeing with third place over the country at Ballyclare and will be hard to oppose.
Northern Ireland Mountain champion Steede, from the promoting club, will go close along with North Belfast star Mark McKinstry who has been a revelation this season.
Newcastle can have a very strong hand with Seamus Lynch, David Steele, David O’Flaherty and Deon McNeilly while East Coast will have Justin Maxwell and Matthew Hewitt second and fourth last time.
Alex Brennan, Simon Reeve, Stephen Wylie and James Brown can also take high positions.
The Six to Score Team Competition will be intense with Newcastle, East Coast, Ballymena Runners, North Belfast, Larne and Orangegrove all in the hunt for medals.
The Ladies’ race should be between World Mountain team medallist Sharon Trimble from North Belfast the winner in 2012, reigning champion Shileen O’Kane a many times mountain champion from Lagan Valley and Claire McAuley from Bellahouston in Scotland runner-up last time.
The improving Sam McNeilly, Janice White, Catherine Roberts and Penny Lindsay will also be in contention.
The organisers are expecting a field of 350 plus. There is a generous prize list covering individuals, teams and age groups.
The benefitting charity is Autism NI.
The action starts at 12pm.