With exactly one month to go until the Campaccio, the first of two IAAF Cross Country Permit meetings in Italy in January, organisers have announced their first top athlete – and they don’t come much bigger than World cross-country champion Japhet Korir.
The Kenyan was something of a surprise winner at the 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Aged just 19 at the time and having just scraped on to the Kenyan team after finishing sixth in his country’s trial race, Korir became the youngest ever winner of the senior men’s title in Bydgoszcz.
Injury kept him out of action for much of the summer, but he is now coming back into form. Last month in Atapuerca he finished sixth in a quality field, just eight seconds behind winner Imane Merga, the 2011 World cross-country champion from Ethiopia.
“Korir was the first name we wanted to invite when we started looking for the best athletes,” said Campaccio technical director Marcello Magnani. “We are waiting to confirm further names for both the men’s and the women’s races but we will know more about it next week after the European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade.”
One of his opponents in San Giorgio su Legnano on 6 January is expected to be Muktar Edris, the Ethiopian teenager who won the 2013 Campaccio title and went on to win two other high-profile races in Italy – the Cinque Mulini in San Vittore Olona and the Vallagarina in Rovereto.
Next month’s race will be the 57th edition of the event. Korir will be the latest in a long line of cross-country champions to compete in San Giorgio su Legnano, following the likes of Paul Tergat, Serhiy Lebid and Paula Radcliffe.
Organisers for the IAAF