One of Kenya’s brightest young talents will head the field at the Victory 5 road race at the Moutbatten Centre tomorrow (11am).
Peter Emase has already claimed his nation’s cross country title.
And on his first trip to the UK earlier this year, he clocked up three successive victories, helping himself to three course records in the process.
His victory at the Poole 10k in 29mins 37secs was impressive in itself.
But he then followed that by blitzing the field in the Plymouth half marathon to win in 1:06.34, before capping his efforts with a third triumph at the Blaydon Race in Newcastle.
Unbeaten on these shores, the 18-year-old will be out for another success in tomorrow’s long-running five-mile showpiece, which has been contested since 1946.
Although the course has changed several times over the years, it starts and finishes at the Mountbatten Centre and is a one lap of a course around Stamshaw Promenade and 1000 Lakeside in North Harbour.
While Emase is an athlete who has already been tipped for greatness by experts – and may well have his eye on the course record of countryman Edwin Kipyego (23.05) and the overall race record of Rob Denmark (22.43) – he won’t have it all his own way tomorrow.
Talented Ethiopian Berihu Tesfay is expected to mount a strong bid as he steps up to the longer distance from his usual track environment.
Woodford Green’s Martyn Cryer, winner of the Overton five-mile race earlier this month, will lead the domestic challenge.
Meanwhile, Chichester’s James Baker and Denmead’s Julian Manning will be relying on their local knowledge to get themselves in the shake-up.
Portsmouth’s Cassie Thorp will be among the favourites as she looks to defend her crown in the women’s race.
But Kenyan Agnes Chebet will be one to watch as she makes her UK debut.
Thorp has set several personal bests in 2012 and will be looking to better her fastest five-mile time of 27.48.
Kate Goodhead and Lily Partridge should also be her main opposition.
A 10k ‘Run for Fun’ is also being held in conjunction with the main race.
There are no entries on the day for the Victory 5 but entries may be available for the 10k if the entry limit has not already been reached.