Can Kenya Repeat Its XC Gold-Medal Sweep?

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Mar. 8, 2011

Linet Masai leads the Kenyan women's squad. Photo: IAAF

None of its 2010 gold medalists are running this year.

With the World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria, Spain, just two weeks away, all eyes are on the Kenyan national squad. At last year’s championships which were held in Bydgoszcz, Poland, Kenya walked away with all four gold medals–the first time any nation has done so.

However, things may be different this year. The Kenyan team is much different than last year with none of last year’s gold medalists able to qualify for their country’s team. Leading the men’s squad is Geoffery Mutai who won the national trials last month in Nairobi.

On the women’s side, Linet Masai looks to be the runner to beat. She has won back-to-back World Cross-Country silver medals in 2009 and 2010. She is also quick on the track, having won the gold medal in the 10,000m at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.

The boy’s junior squad is led by one of the fastest indoor track runners ever. Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Kiplangat Koech owns the fastest 5,000m this year.

Not surprisingly, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Eritrea are the three nations expected give Kenya a run for the money on March 20.

For More: IAAF

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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