Watched the World Cross Country Championships at the weekend.Hosted and staged by the Danes who had devised and designed an incredibly tough route. Virtually all ups and downs with one of the “ups” being particularly brutal. As ever the East Africans were up to the challenge and completely dominated all of the five races (Mixed Relay,Junior Women,Junior Men,Senior Women and Senior Men) with the Ugandans who are often overlooked in terms of the quality of their endurance athletes at last coming to the fore and finishing 1/2 in the Mens Senior Race. The BBC race commentators rated the course the toughest in the history of the event and one which would have been extraordinarily demanding if the weather leading up to the day had been unkind and created more difficult ground conditions. As it was the only “mud” which the competitors had to deal with was an artificially created 80 odd metre stretch which churned up a bit but was never really a problem. There was also a token 50 metre shallow puddle – again no problem for the runners. But those hills !! The images of the young Norwegian superstar Jacob Ingebrigsten lying on the ground totally exhausted and in some distress immediately after finishing 12th , but a long way behind the lead runners , summed it up. The BBC camera work was superb especially the coverage of the toughest of the hills leading up to the “museum” showing the sheer brutality of the gradient and the effect it was having on the runners. A blessing certainly was that the weather on the day itself was kind. I hope that the event is staged again at the same location. If not perhaps next year`s European XC championships ? In the meantime the Danes are to be congratulated for their imagination and initiative and they might one hopes consider retaining and maintaining the circuit for open cross country racing and as a runners tourist attraction ( a variation eg on amateurs getting to do Brands Hatch) ?
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About the Author: Gerry
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