Details of what “more extreme, edgier” cross country races will look like is starting to emerge thanks to a discovery by an anonymous source

by David Greenberg, guest correspondent for
April 1, 2018

In January, the IAAF announced that “cross country running should move towards a more extreme, edgier style to attract new audiences as well as a new breed of cross country runner to the discipline. That was one of the main recommendations made by the IAAF Cross Country Committee at its meeting” in Seville.

Ever since then, XC fans have been wondering exactly what “more extreme, edgier” means. Thanks to an anonymous source, we now may have an idea. A reporter says that “the following meeting minutes were found stuffed into a FILA shoebox by the side of the road outside Seville.

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Chair: We declare the 2018 meeting of the IAAF Cross Country Committee open.

Chair: Does the representative from Great Britain have any ideas?

GB: We would like to see rails on every turn on the course. Watching athletes negotiate them would be thrilling. And since we have heavy experience judging DQs, we can take the lead on the refereeing.

Chair: Don’t start, GB.

Germany: How about we make some water pits, place some hay bales and call it a day? Easy.

Chair: Ladies and Gentlemen, these are good ideas, but we need more – something exciting and new.

Ethiopia: How about we have the race in Kenya, and run the course through a phalanx of Italian doctors with prescription pads and needles?

Chair: Clever, but no. Er, Kenya, yes?

Kenya: The Ethiopians might be happier if we held the race far away from the Olympics, in, say Dubai, with no competition or controls.

Chair: I’ll ask the members to stay within the bounds of discussion.

Canada: How about the race goes through a room where they have to find a bottle of pills hidden in a pile of mail. Alberto Salazar could design that part of the course.

Chair: Gentlemen and Ladies!

Netherlands: Afterwards have judges score interviews and body language – the winner is the one who best implies her competition is on drugs but doesn’t actually say it.

USA: Did anyone see an envelope of money lying around? In a green and white envelope with a big O on it?

Norway: Can we put people on skis?

Japan: Athletes must be in school and under 22.

Chair: Russia, do you have any ideas?

Russia: No, our work here is done. 

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