11 March 2005MonteCarloThe World Cross Country Championships are the oldest of the IAAF World Athletics Series (WAS) events, and present the sport of Athletics, certainly the running disciplines, in perhaps their most genuine and fundamental guise.
No equipment needed, not even shoes if they can’t be had, just a pair of shorts and a vest which will usually be provided by an athlete’s team kit sponsors anyway. A tremendous amount of energy, endurance and above all guts, these are the only ‘necessities’ for a runner to compete at the 33rd edition of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships which take place on the weekend of 19/20 March 2005 in St-Etienne/St-Galmier, France.
On the other hand the financial rewards paid by the IAAF are many and varied, and the usual prize money totals (seniors only) are on offer for each race in 2005:
Individual - US$30,000 for 1st, US$15,000 for 2nd, US$10,000 for 3rd, graduating down to US$3000 for a sixth place finish.
Team - US$20,000 for 1st, US$16,000 for 2nd, US$12,000 for 3rd, graduating down to US$4000 for a sixth place finish.
195,000US$ and counting
One man who knows all about the financial benefits of competing at the World Cross Country is of course the greatest ever exponent of the multi-terrain discipline, Ethiopia’s reigning three-time double (short and long race) World Cross Country champion Kenenisa Bekele.
Rightly, he has financially reaped the rewards in the last four editions of the Championships - thanks to his second place short course finish in 2001, and three short and long race doubles (2002, 2003, 2004) - an individual prize money haul of US$195,000.
Bekele has also taken a share of the US$116,000 team prize money that the Ethiopian senior squads have compiled for their one third place (2001 short course), four second places (short/long, 2002/03), and two victories (short/long, 2004) in those same races.
Currently entered to contest both races in St-Etienne/St-Galmier, Bekele has the possibility to bring his individual World Cross Country career earnings to over a quarter of a million dollars should he engage in another successful double and that’s not even counting on any team prize payouts.