MonteCarloThe ten individual one day meetings which make up the calendar of IAAF Cross Country Permit Meetings 2006/07 begin this weekend in Oeiras, Portugal, on Saturday 11 November 2006, and conclude in San Vittore, Italy on Sunday 4 March 2007, at the 75th edition of the Cinque Mulini.
The season will culminate three weeks later with the 35th IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Mombasa, Kenya, on Saturday 24 March 2007. The most important cross country event of them all, the annual championships is the oldest IAAF World Athletics Series event. Next year it makes its first ever appearance in one of the heartlands of long distance running, Kenya.
The story at this year’s Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, was of course Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele who completed his fifth consecutive World Cross long and short race double.
However, this headline news was double edged as a little while later, with his 18th World Championship gold medal around his neck, Bekele declared.
"I cannot achieve anything new. I am leaning towards not competing at the World Cross Country any more.”
"I do not want anyone to think that I will not run again next year because the event is being staged in Kenya. But I have been racing at this event for six years now, and I want to step aside and make way for my young Ethiopian team mates who are coming through.”
Whether or not Bekele changes his mind come next March is a question which is sure to be posed numerously to the 24-year-old on the circuit over the coming months. The World 5000m and 10,000m record holder will certainly race some individual cross country meets this season whatever his decision is regarding Mombasa itself.
Anyway one thing is clear, Bekele has completed his last double at the World Cross Country Championships. This year the event returns to a one day format with just one men’s and one women’s senior race (as took place before 1998), plus the usual junior men’s and women’s competitions, with all four races offering up individual and teams titles for the taking.
Follow all the cross country season action on the IAAF Website, which as always will provide features, interviews, meeting previews, and reports throughout the season on - www.iaaf.org
Chris Turner for the IAAF
IAAF CROSS COUNTRY PERMIT MEETINGS 2006/2007
Sat 11 OEIRAS POR
Sun 26 LLODIO ESP
Sun 17 BRUSSELS BEL
Sat 6 BELFAST GBR
Sat 13 EDINBURGH GBR
Sun 21 SEVILLA ESP
Sat 10 MOMBASA KEN
Sun 11 DIEKIRCH LUX
Sun 25 ALBUFEIRA POR
Sun 4 SAN VITTORE ITA
Sat 24 35th IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Mombasa, KEN