Today marks one month to go until the European 10,000m Cup takes place in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on Saturday 10 June.
This year’s edition is a particularly noteworthy one as it marks 20 years since the event took place for the first time – under its former name of the European 10,000m Challenge – in Barakaldo, Spain.
This will also be the first time Belarus has played host to this annual event and it is set to be one of the best attended to date.
According to the preliminary entries, a record 26 Member Federations are set to send runners to Minsk, which would surpass the 24 nations that lined up when the famous Bislett Stadium in Oslo staged this event in 2011.
Mersin hosted last year’s edition with Italy's Daniele Meucci and local star Esma Aydemir claiming the individual titles in 28:24.71 and 33:33.38 respectively on a warm evening in the Turkish coastal resort.
Italy and Great Britain won the team honours twelve months ago and both federations have committed full teams in their quest to defend their men’s and women’s titles respectively.
History shows us the event has been a launch pad for some of the all-time greats of distance running.
Making her debut over the distance in 1998, Paula Radcliffe finished a close second to Olympic champion Fernanda Ribeiro from Portugal – 30:48.06 to 30:48.58 – giving a strong hint of how her career was going to progress in the following decade.
Mo Farah claimed the men’s title in Marseille in 2010, a precursor to the 13 major track titles he has accrued so far.
This year's event will be staged at the RCOP Stadium and local expectations will be high in the women’s race as Volha Mazuronak is tipped to challenge for a podium finish.
Having been one of the world’s top U20 race walkers a decade ago, the 28-year-old switched to running in 2011 and has never looked back.
She was the first European finisher in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games marathon, where she finished fifth, and the fastest woman in Europe last year with a personal best of 2:23:54 from the London Marathon.
The European 10,000m Cup forms a vital part of Mazuronak's preparations for the World Championships in London and she will also be aiming to make an improvement on her 10,000m lifetime best of 32:31.15, set at the 2014 European Athletics Championships in Zurich.
The Opening Ceremony for the European 10,000m Cup takes place at 1600 local time (1500 CET) but the main programme will be preceded by a series of regional races for young athletes as well as a kids’ athletics competition.
More details about the European 10,000m Cup can be found on the European Athletics website here.