Olympic triathlete Jonny Brownlee to race at Armagh tonight

Armagh Road Races

The BROOKS Armagh International Road Race celebrates the 25th anniversary of this iconic event tonight. Once again, the field is stacked and includes Olympic triathlon bronze medallist, Jonny Brownlee (handicap 0.0) as well as Olympian Ross Murray (handicap -3.3) and Poland's Krystian Zalewski.

No other race brings together so many runners who can cover 5k in less than 16 minutes. Last year 45 went under 15 minutes on the course that laps around the Mall in the Catherdal City.

As well as the men's international 5k, the event offers an inclusive programme starting at 6.30pm with races for children over distances from 400m to 2400m. The women's race, over 3km, takes place at 8.05pm followed by men who can cover their 5km race in less than 17 minutes at 8.20pm. The final race of the night is the men's open 3km that takes place at 8.45pm.

This year, the women's 3km brings together a unique field of runners from Ireland, England and Scotland. The holder of the current record of 9:08, Brooks sponsored, Mary Cullen, leads the Irish National Team. Mary is a former European Championship medallist with a best time of 8:50 for the distance. However, she will have the contention of another Brooks sponsored and 8:50 runner, Katrina Wootton (handicap 1.4). Other runners to look out for are Ireland's Ciara Durkin, England's Gemma Hillier (handicap 0.2) and Scotland's  Jo Moultrie (handicap 0.1) and Laura Dunn (handicap 0.8).

The men's international 5k looks set to break all records wth a head-to-head expected between the United States and Poland. The record of 13:54 could well come under pressure tonight. The team from the USA is led by Joe Stilin, reportedly in the form of his life and coming with a personal best of 13:33. The Polish challenge is led by Krystian Zalewski, the European silver-medallist in the 3000m Steeplechase in Zurich last year. Along with triathlete, Jonny Brownlee, others expected at the front of the field are Lukasz Paraszezymski of Poland who has run 13:38 for 5000m; Ross Murray who competed in the 1500m in London 2012 and has a personal best, over that distance, of 3:34;  Luke Cragg (handicap -2.8) who has run 13;41 for 5000m, Cameron Bean of the USA who has run 13:48; John Beattie (handicap -4.9) a 13:55 runner; former British 3000m Indoor Champion with a 5000m best of 13:55, Jonny Mellor (handicap -5.2); Richard Weir (handicap -4.6) who finished 2nd last year; Ireland's Mark Kenneally who has run 13:56 and Gary Murray who has run 13:44. Jake Wightman (handicap -3.3), the former European Junior 1500m champion with a 3:35 best for that distance could well surprise many of the better-known names.

The Armagh International Road Races are organised by Armagh Athletics Club. The slick running of the programme contibutes to the excitement and atmosphere as runners of all ages and abilities speed around the mall in this series of 12 races. The course is flat, fast and furious and the fields are deep, giving runners the chance to run personal best times.