THIS year's Watson's Hong Kong Cross Country League, organised by the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association (HKAAA), gets off the mark this morning when the first race is held over a 7.8-kilometre course at Aberdeen Country Park. Over 500 distance runners have entered the men's and women's leagues comprising four races including the Championships which will be held on December 17 at Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Country Park. HKAAA officials will use the league to select national teams to compete in next year's Asian Cross Country Championships or next year's IAAF World Cross Country Championships which will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, in March. Reigning men's league champions Tsun Wan Athletic Club (TWAC) are defending their title and have included several leading Hong Kong distance men in their lineup including Li Kar-yin, Wong Ip-chor, Ma Sai-tong, Chan Wah-kwai and Kwok Hon-kwai. TWAC's main opposition will again come from Watson's Athletic Club (WAC) who will be relying on defending individual cross country champion Lee Kar-lun with good support coming from Roberto De Vido, Fong Tze-man, Babs Bukunola and track runners Yip Kai-tak and Wong Kin-on. However, WAC will miss the services of Martin Peace who has left Hong Kong after dominating Hong Kong's road racing scene and the shorter cross country events for several seasons .