The event has previously been staged in Greenmount, Antrim and is one of 12 IAAF permitted cross country meets.

Northern Ireland’s premier cross country meet, formerly known as the Antrim International, will now be staged at Dundonald’s Billy Neill Centre in county Down from 2019.

In recent years, the event, which is one of only 12 IAAF permitted cross country meets and the only one across the island of Ireland, was staged in Greenmount, Antrim.

Kenyan duo Timothy Cheruiyot and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi took the crowns at the last edition in Greenmount, while Fionnuala McCormack, Hugh Armstrong, Andy Vernon and Verity Ockenden were the top performing Irish and British athletes.

First staged in 1977, the meet takes place in its new home on January 19 (2019) and will welcome top runners from across the UK and Ireland as well as an abundance of international athletes.

Over its 42-year history, the event has attracted the world’s best runners to Northern Ireland which, in the past, has included Steve Ovett, Steve Cram, Brendan Foster, Paula Radcliffe and multi World Cross champion Paul Tergat.

As well as being part of the IAAF cross-country circuit, the meet also forms part of the Home Countries Cross-Country series and features in the British Athletics Cross Challenge.

“Since 1977 Athletics Northern Ireland has, on an annual basis, promoted a major International Cross-Country event in the Province,” said Athletics NI Chairman, David Seaton. “Whilst the International events are the main attraction on the day a full menu of races is provided and this allows young athletes from all over the United Kingdom and Ireland to compete over the same terrain and conditions as the more established stars.

“Athletics Northern Ireland very much appreciates the involvement and assistance of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and hopes that this association will be a long and rewarding one for both parties as together we work to deliver top class athletics competition”

RELATED: International feel added to Cross Challenge opener

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