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Runner Kate Avery is set to lead the charge in Antrim

By Brian Hill

Published 12/01/2016

Striding forward: Kate Avery hopes to shine at Greenmount
Striding forward: Kate Avery hopes to shine at Greenmount

Great Britain's top cross country runner Kate Avery has been added to the list of star competitors for this weekend's Greenmount Cross Country International.

Athletics NI officials were in celebratory mood yesterday following news that they had secured the services of the weekend's winner of the Great Edinburgh 6k Cross Country.

This success adds to Avery's individual silver medal from last month's European Cross Country Champs in France.

The 24-year-old, who is a former US Collegiate champion, is clearly in the form of her life and will fancy her chances at Antrim where she will face probably the highest quality field in the 39 year history of this International.

Last Saturday in Edinburgh Avery made light of the difficult conditions and took a clear lead after half way from Ireland's Fionnuala McCormack, who is also racing at Greenmount, and went on to secure a comfortable victory.

"I found the course difficult as I prefer firmer conditions. I'm over the moon with what is really my first big win," she said.

Avery who previously finished eighth at Greenmount back in 2010 has been a transformed athlete in the past 18 months following her training schedules in the US.

The Glasgow Commonwealth Games fourth placer over 10,000 metres just lost the European Cross Country title in Bulgaria 13 months ago by the proverbial hair's breadth from team-mate Gemma Steel.

She again secured silver in France last month behind Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands.

Avery will, however, need to be at the top of her game at Antrim to ensure victory.

In addition to McCormack she faces the winners from the past two years.

Birtukan Fente Alemu of Ethiopia was the clear winner last year while Mimi Bahrain narrowly won in 2014.

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