The World Cross Country will take place in Kampala, the Ugandan capital, this Sunday. It has been a full decade since the last time this event of the World Athletics Series was hosted by any African country.

Since those days, when the championships were still disputed every year, little change has been observed in the podiums.
However, there are even less Europeans in the front group, replaced by athletes who wear singlets of Bahrain, Turkey or Spain.

This 42nd edition of the competition brings some novelty with it – an extra race which will change the way people look at “team competition” in cross country.
Despite the usual team standings which rank the countries according to the order of arrival of each athlete, there will be an actual 4 x 2 kilometres mixed relay, starring some middle-distance runners of each country.

In this race, Ethiopia might try to prove superior to Kenya, as they have already confirmed the presence of both Genzebe Dibaba (who holds several world records: from 1500 to 5000 metres indoors and 1500 metres outdoors) and the emerging 19-year-old Yomif Kejelcha (7:28 in the 3000 metres – an U20 world record).
On the other side, Kenya is taking Asbel Kiprop (the fastest 1500-metres runner since Hicham El Guerrouj and the only to make the Moroccan’s world record tremble).
The countries are allowed to choose any order for their two men and two women, so it will be difficult to predict who’s going to win until the very end of the race.

As to the other races, the highlight goes to Geoffrey Kamworor, who will be attempting to maintain his title after having won the world cross country in 2015 and the half-marathon world championships in 2016.

(Photo: Getty Images)

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