The World Cross Country Championships is the most important competition in international Cross country running. Held annually and organized by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), it was inaugurated in 1973, when it replaced the International Cross Country Championships.
Cross country is an organized sport that originated from the Crick Run, that has been held every year since 1837 at Rugby School in England. By the early 19th century the sport was practiced in all private schools and it’s popularity continued to rise from there.
The World Cross Country Championships is among the most difficult races to win on the planet, simply because of the sheer volume of high caliber athletes participating in the same race. Some even rate it as more difficult to win than the Olympic Games. In fact Cross country became a part of the Olympic Games in 1912 until 1924 when it was dropped because many saw it as an inappropriate summer sport.
But many would like to see it reinstated including some of the greatest distance kings on the planet.
Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele, Haile Gebrselassie and Kenya’s Paul Tergat made a request in a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The IOC has already referred the letter to the IAAF, since they are responsible for granting such a request.
I am a big fan of cross country running. It is always a treat to see so many top athletes battling it out over harder conditions. The tougher conditions also level the playing field for runners who possess less track speed, making the race more about strength and tactics than out-and-out leg speed.
I would love to see the request is granted, but I have my doubts it will meet with success. A recent request to have cross country running part of the winter Olympics – perhaps a more appropriate place for a cross country event – was turned down.
Cross country in the Olympics would likely not stack up to the World Titles as a lot of the high profile athletes would be running on the track or in the marathon. Still, it would pull in a different breed of endurance runner and that, I think would offer some great benefits to the sport.
Read the full article here.
Their letter can be viewed here.