Gary Murray and Ann-Marie McGlynn will start favourites for tonight’s Deep RiverRock Queens 5K promoted by the University Club around the Stranmillis and Annadale Embankments.
Former Northern Ireland and Irish champion Murray just lost out to Tom Frazer in the Titanic after winning the Seeley and will be in a determined mood this time.
Scott Rankin second last year, former Titanic winner Conor Duffy, Chris Madden and Barry Harron third and sixth in the Titanic will all go close along with Mark McKinstry Northern Ireland senior silver medallist.
Other names to watch include Chris Maguinness, Andrew Annett, Pius McIntyre, Gary Slevin, Neil Johnston, Stephen Prentice and World and Paralympic track champion Michael McKillop. Last year’s top juniors Conal McCambridge and Craig McMeechan will be well up.
Ann-Marie McGlynn, the winner last year, was second in the Titanic after a duel with Kerry O’Flaherty and she will be fancied to return to the top step of the podium.
The Letterkenny athlete won at the Masters International after setting a course record at Greencastle. She took the Bay Road 5K a week ago and should win again.
Team mate Natasha Adams, third last time, can take silver. She came first at the SSE and Bundoran 10 miles events.
Northern Ireland champion Shalene McMurray is an interesting entry and can challenge along with Judith Lonnen, Rachel Gibson, Emma Mitchell, Rebecca Henderson, Jodi Smith, Gerrie Short and Catherine Diver.
Queens Triathlon Club have a big entry along with many other University Societies.
For the first time there will also be a 3K race which has attracted marathon star Breege Connolly, World Master 800 champion Kelly Neely, Jessica Craig and Laura Bickerstaff. Young stars Cormack O’Rourke and Luke Dinsmore can go well in the mens.
The 3K opens the programme at 6.50 with the main 5K at 7.30.
This year’s 35th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon on May Day Monday is shaping up to the one of the best both in terms of quality and quantity.
There will be over 2,700 competitors in the marathon itself with a massive 1,800 five person teams taking part in the relay with many raising funds for the official charity Mencap.
Defending champion Joel Kipsang from Kenya will be going for his third victory having won in 2013 and 2015 as well as coming second to Freddy Sittuk in 2014.
He won last year from Larne and Omagh winner Gideon Kimosop who is unfortunately injured at the moment. Joel ran 2:13:15 in Germany at the end of last year and will once again start favourite.
19-year-old Ethiopian Zeleke Bekele came second in his debut in China with 2:15:23 and could cause a surprise while Tamas Nagy of Hungary and Musafa Channi of Morocco placed third and fifth last time in Belfast. Eddie McGinley of Annadale was top local in fourth.
There is a strong Hungarian influence also in the ladies with Katalin Garami third last time and Helen Csonge. Sophie Carter of Belgrade will feature on the strength of her 2:48:29 best.