Eliud Kipchoge battles with the snow at the 2009 Campaccio XC race (Lorenzo Sampaolo) © Copyright
Kipchoge, who won the 9Km race in 2005 and finished third on two other occasions, will be among the key headliners in the international 4Km race when the event adopts a new format.
The revamped format will include three races: a men’s 4Km (replacing the previous 9Km) and women’s 6 km invitation-only events – which will be contested by the world’s best male and female athletes respectively – and an 8Km Men’s International Team Challenge.
The Men’s International Team Challenge will see Great Britain and Northern Ireland Senior Men and Great Britain and Northern Ireland U23 & U20 Men take on the United States and a European Select team.
Each country competing in the Team Challenge will enter nine athletes per team and the first six athletes to complete the course will receive a score based on their position. The team with the lowest overall score wins.
"The new programme is designed to host what should be a closely fought duel between the teams involved," said Andy Caine, the event project manager.
Caine said the quality of overseas runners, which has seen Olympic and World champions such as Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba star in previous years, will be maintained, with big signings to be announced shortly.
"I think what is important about cutting the international race to 4km is that it will also allow track stars who specialise over 1500m to take part, and there has been an encouraging response to the proposal," Caine said.
"It will still suit the likes of Kipchoge and other leading 5000m runners, who although stepping down, will still be at home with the distance. Yes, it's a new concept, but I believe it will be a winning formula which has been received enthusiastically from both competitors and managers I have spoken with. We are hoping that the event will really capture the imagination of the public.”
Organisers for the IAAF