MonteCarloThe series of 12 individual meetings which make up the calendar of IAAF Cross Country Permit Series 2009/10 begin next weekend in Oeiras, Portugal, on Saturday 21 November 2009.
The Permit series concludes in Albufeira, Portugal on Sunday 7 March 2010, and the season as a whole will culminate three weeks later at the 38th IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Bydgoszcz, Poland on Sunday 28 March 2010. Those championships will mark the first time since the Polish capital of Warsaw hosted the 1987 edition that the oldest IAAF World Athletics Series event will be held in Poland.
The annual IAAF Cross Country Permit series and the World Cross Country Championships, which were first celebrated under the IAAF banner in 1973, represent the very pinnacle of long distance running competition over variable terrain.
Cross country running exemplifies the true accessibility of our sport, as even the poorest nations can participate at the top international level, with minimal finance and facilities. It is the purest of activities, requiring nothing but guts and determination to succeed, characteristics which are at the heart of athletics’ enduring international appeal.
The 2008/09 cross country season was robbed, due to a combination of injury and illness, of the talents of multiple World champions Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba. In their absence new names emerged on the roll of honour in Amman at last year’s World Championships, their Ethiopian compatriot Gebre Gebremariam taking the men’s senior title and Florence Kiplagat ending Kenya's long wait - long course since 1994 - for a senior women's individual gold medal.
Come the summer Bekele was back to his very best on the track in Berlin becoming the first man ever to win the 5000m and 10,000m double at the World Championships. While Dibaba’s form didn’t allow her to even run in Berlin, only last weekend on the roads in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, she sped to a 15km World record (subject to ratification), so proving her return to full fitness.
So with the major cross country players of the past decade back into form and ready to take on all challengers, we are assured of an intriguing and exciting season of permit race series, as the world’s best multi-terrain distance runners test out their racing shape ahead of Bydgoszcz.
Follow all the action from the international cross country season on the IAAF website, which as always will provide features, interviews, meeting previews, and reports via the Bydgoszcz 2010 site by clicking here.
Click here - CALENDAR - IAAF Cross Country Permit Meetings 2009/2010