Just four days until the biggest UK 10K of the year, the Bupa Great Manchester Run and excitement mounts for the 35,000 runners who are taking part. The event will be televised live on the BBC from 10:00 to 12:00. At the elite end, news that Commonwealth 10,000m gold medallist, Grace Momanyi, will join a strong women's line up on May 15 has been welcomed after the disappointment of Paula Radcliffe's withdrawal through illness.
Momanyi will be bidding to add another prestigious British road racing title to her name after victories in the 2008 Bupa Great Yorkshire Run and last autumn's Bupa Great South Run. The 29-year-old Kenyan will join an international field for the 10K race including fellow African Berhane Adere, who will be chasing a third Manchester success. On her last appearance in Manchester, the Ethiopian star posted a still intact national and course record of 31:07.
The withdrawal of Radcliffe, recovering from a chest and throat infection, will leave European Indoor 3000m gold medallist Helen Clitheroe and teenager Charlotte Purdue, winner of last month's SPAR Great Ireland Run, to head the domestic challenge. Both returned last week from a high altitude training camp and will be hoping the benefits will help them attain a podium finish.
As much interest will be shown in the host of celebrities taking part in the Bupa Great Manchester Run. This year's line-up includes Nell McAndrew, Shayne Ward (X Factor), Jason Done (Tom Clarkson in Waterloo Road), Chris Chittell (Eric Pollard in Emmerdale) and Sally Dynevor (Sally Webster in Coronation Street). Bound to raise a big cheer from the crowds who will throng the streets of Manchester is Shameless star David Threlfall. As one tweeter enthused: "Looking forward to seeing Frank Gallagher in his running parker (sic)".
Another star who faces a big challenge on Sunday is Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere. The first leg of a three event programme is the Bupa Great Manchester Run; second-up is the British Gas Great Salford Swim, which will entail swimming a mile in open water with 2,000 fellow competitors; finally it's back to Manchester City Centre where Andy will sprint 150 metres in the Powerade ION4 Great CityGames against some of Manchester finest young sprinters.
Many thousands of Sunday's participants will be running for charity including Everton's Phil Neville. Phil's daughter Isabella suffers from cerebral palsy and the Neville family has helped to raise over £20m for the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. 7 year old Isabella will be taking part in the children's event.