Both the men’s and women’s course records are expected to be under threat in tomorrow’s Peterhead 10K.
The event has attracted a smattering of top-class north runners in the capacity field of 300 competitors.
Aberdeen AAC’s James Hoad will start as favourite to win the top men’s prize and, if conditions are favourable, might test the record of 32min 34secs set by David Wright (Hunters Bog Trotters) in 2004.
That remains the only occasion on which the 33min barrier has been breached during the 16-year history of the event.
Hoad has the credentials to do the job as he has a best track time of 30:53 set at the British championships in London earlier in the year.
His best road performance is 31:14. He also showed good form to win the Great Aberdeen half marathon in August.
He has been in great form and recently set a personal best time of 1hr 6min 48secs when winning the Royal Parks half marathon in London.
Hoad is, however, planning a tough double this weekend, starting with an outing in today’s Scottish 4K cross country championships in Kirkcaldy.
He said: “I should be ok for the 10k, although it depends how the cross country race goes.
“I certainly feel I’m in decent shape and capable of running under 31min, but we’ll see.”
His Aberdeen AAC team-mate Myles Edwards is also contemplating making an appearance after a long spell on the sidelines.
The former Scottish 1,500m track champion has a best of 31:52 from 2018.
Others who will hope to feature near the front include Fraserburgh’s Ythan Challenge champion Keith McIntyre and JS Kintore’s Richard Strachan.
Strachan, who won the Dyce half marathon in August before going on to clock a marathon PB in Berlin, was first finisher in the inaugural Ury Parkrun 5K at Inverurie last weekend.
Two previous champions are also in the starting line-up. Alan Reid (Peterhead AC), who won in 2007 and 2008, is joined by Fraserburgh’s Keith Buchan who took top spot in 2016.
The women’s course record of 35:33 set by Nicola Gauld in 2012 could also be threatened by the appearance of Scotland international Jenny Bannerman who leads a strong Inverness Harriers squad.
Bannerman has a best of 34:52 and has been under 35:30 on three further occasions this year. Her clubmates Amy Hudson and Catriona Fraser are also expected to be among the leading finishers.
Metro Aberdeen’s Gauld, who was fourth in last month’s River Ness 10K, is also in the line-up and will be aiming for a podium position.