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History of the Event

25 Years of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships

Alf ShrubbPHIL MINSHULL considers the evolution of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, some of the legends who have won it and recalls the highlights of every edition since 1973

An unabridged version of this article appears in the latest edition of the IAAF Magazine

Just how tough is it to win at the World Cross Country Championships? A man who knows is Kenya’s Paul Tergat, winner of the senior race for the last two years.

"It’s probably the toughest distance race in the world to win. World class runners from 1500m to the marathon contest it and instead of just three runners from each country, like in the Olympics or World Championships, in the senior men's race there are nine."

"It's getting harder every year to win," claims Tergat, who this year will be aiming for his hat trick.

The list of those who have failed to achieve the top prize is quite staggering. Although the distances are comparable, only Norway’s Ingrid Kristiansen has been a World Champion at 10,000m on the track and won gold at the World Cross Country Championships.

The list of those who have failed so far includes distance running giants like Italy’s Alberto Cova, Kenya’s Moses Tanui, Britain’s Liz McColgan and Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie.


Legends of the Cross

A Brief History...

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Copyright 1997 IAAF International Amateur Athletic Federation. All rights reserved.
All photographs 1997 Allsport.