Another weekend of cross country action kicks-off this morning with Thornhill College hosting the opening race in the local Primary Schools Flavahans Cross Country League at 12 noon.
And then it’s the N.I. Masters Cross Country Trial race tomorrow (Saturday) at the Queens University Malone grounds.
Tomorrow’s Thornhill event - the first of three League races - is expected to attract around 300 young runners from Primary Schools across the Derry City Council area with three 1K races on the programme.
The boys and girls will race separately in the featured races and there is also a Fun Run over the same distance for all the children who miss out on their school first choice squads.
The spacious Thornhill grounds will provide an excellent course and provide a new challenge and contrast to the St Columb’s Park and Sports Complex courses which will host races two and three.
The action kicks off at 12 noon and the participating schools should ensure their runners are on site in good time to register for the starts.
Saturday’s venue is in Belfast and it’s the Trial race for the Masters hoping to gain selection on the NI Masters squads for next month’s annual Masters International Cross Country championships in Nottingham.
A significant number of local Masters runners from O35 to O70 will travel and the expectation is that many locals will once again win selection for the Nottingham trip.
The racing kicks off at 11.30 a.m. tomorrow with the Females and Men O65 first into action on a 6K course with the Male O35 to O60 taking on an 8K course at 12.15 p.m.
The NI squads will be based on performances tomorrow while the Republic of Ireland selections will follow next weekend after the Gerry Farnham trial race in Dublin on Sunday week.
Local athletes have made both squads in recent years and the significant local input is expected to continue.
Foyle Valley and City of Derry Spartans have serious interests in maintaining their representation at this level and may well be joined by a few Derry City Track Club runners this year in the race for selection.
Finally there is also road race action over the weekend at Dundrum, County Down where the popular annual GR Dundrum 8 miler should draw a big entry for the 1pm start tomorrow (Saturday).
The men’s 2013 winner, East Down’s Benny Teer will be hoping to build on his Comber Cup Cross Country win last weekend.