Mbuleli Mathanga and Kesa Molotsane will be eager to retain their titles this weekend, but they will have to be at their best against powerful line-ups in the men's and women's top-flight races at the 2022 ASA Cross Country Championships in Rustenburg on Saturday, 17 September.
In the senior men's 10km event, Mathanga will be aiming to defend the national crown he won at last year's domestic cross country showpiece in Amanzimtoti.
He is up against a field this weekend which includes Bonginkosi Zwane, who bagged the bronze medal last year, as well as the likes of Kabelo Seboko and Milton Kekana.
Molotsane, meanwhile, will have to shake off fierce rival Glenrose Xaba, who is expected to lead the chase for gold in the senior women's 10km race.
Over the shorter 4km distance, elite athletes will also battle for national honours.
Having gained significant experience over the 5 000m distance on the track, two-time Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya will be hard to beat in the senior women's 4km contest.
Her strongest challenge could come from another middle-distance track athlete, Simonay Weitsz.
And a thrilling battle is expected in the senior men's 4km race, with the entry lists featuring the likes of national 3 000m record holder Jerry Motsau, steeplechase star Rantso Mokopane and experienced cross country runner Marko Bucarizza.
The ASA Cross Country Championships will be held at Bergsig Academy sport grounds on Saturday.
The first race starts at 7.30am and the entry fee for spectators is R30 per person.