The 2:04 marathoner will be aiming for his first cross-country title.
No previous winner of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships will be on the start line this weekend in Punta Umbria, Spain. This should mean the field for the pinnacle of cross-country running will be wide open. However, that’s not the case. All eyes are currently on the Kenyan national champion, Geoffrey Mutai, who made a name for himself in the trials race with a 45-second margin of victory.
Mutai is a bit of a late bloomer. The 29-year-old police officer didn’t seriously take up running until four years ago. Since then, he’s been tearing up the roads, primarily as a marathoner. He is a two-time winner of the Eindhoven Marathon–both instances he clocked an impressive 2:07 there. He then ran an blazing 2:04 marathon in Rotterdam.
As with almost all competitive long-distance events, there are also a strong contingent of Ethiopians in the mix. Expected to give Mutai a run for the money is the 22-year-old Hunegaw Mesfin who won his country’s trials by 13 seconds. “I hope we will change the World Cross Country result which was dominated by the Kenyans last year,” he said after that race
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