Rodrigue Kwizera and Rahel Daniel, winners of the 2021-2022 World Athletics Cross Country Tour (© Asociacion ADOC / Ricardo Ordonez)
The outdoor international track and field season might have come to a close but top-class competition continues with the return of the World Athletics Cross Country Tour.
As it did last year, the 2022-2023 calendar will again feature Gold, Silver and Bronze level fixtures and competition kicks off this weekend with the TCS Lidingöloppet, a Silver level meeting, before the first Gold event – the Cardiff Cross Challenge – on 15 October. The Lidingöloppet is the world’s largest cross-country running race and has recently been recognised with the World Athletics Heritage Plaque.
The World Cross Country Tour calendar has expanded this season to currently include 17 Gold level meetings as well as five Silver fixtures and one Bronze event.
The series once again features some of the most prestigious international cross-country races in the world and will form a key part in the preparation of many athletes who will be targeting the World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 23 on 18 February.
After next month's Cardiff Cross Challenge in Wales, UK, the Gold series moves on to Poland and Spain before stops in USA, Italy, Belgium, Botswana, Kenya and Portugal.
2022-2023 World Cross Country Tour Gold calendar
15 Oct – Cardiff Cross Challenge, Cardiff (GBR)
23 Oct – Cross Country Bydgoszcz na Start, Bydgoszcz (POL)
23 Oct – Cross Internacional Zornotza, Amorebieta-Etxano (ESP)
6 Nov – Cross Internacional de Soria, Soria (ESP)
12-13 Nov – Cross Internacional de Atapuerca, Atapuerca (ESP)
20 Nov – XL Cross Internacional de Italica, Seville (ESP)
27 Nov – Cross Internacional de La Constitucion Alcobendas, Alcobendas (ESP)
1 Dec – Cross Champs, Austin, TX (USA)
18 Dec – Cross Internacional de Venta de Banos, Venta de Banos (ESP)
6 Jan – Campaccio International Cross Country, San Giorgio su Legnano (ITA)
8 Jan – Elgoibar Juan Muguerza Cross Country, Elgoibar (ESP)
15 Jan – Cinque Mulini, San Vittore Olona (ITA)
22 Jan – CrossCup de Hannut, Hannut (BEL)
28 Jan – Botswana Cross Country Challenge, Gaborone (BOT)
11 Feb – Sirikwa Cross Country Classic, Eldoret (KEN)
12 Feb – LII Gran Premio Caceres Campo a Traves, Caceres (ESP)
26 Feb – Cross das Amendoeiras em Flor, Albufeira (POR)
Full Cross Country Tour calendar (including Gold, Silver and Bronze meetings)
The World Athletics Cross Country Tour and the cross country rankings also form part of the qualification pathway for the 10,000m at future championships. Starting with the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23, the top eight men and top eight women in the cross country rankings, who are not already qualified via entry standard or world 10,000m ranking, will be automatically qualified.
Tour wins for Kwizera and Daniel
The 2021-2022 World Athletics Cross Country Tour ran from September to March and a series of strong performances led to Burundi’s Rodrigue Kwizera and Eritrea’s Rahel Daniel becoming the overall winners.
The Cross Country Tour, which replaced the former Cross Country Permit series, takes athletes’ best three marks and converts them into performance scores (as also used by the world rankings system).
The top six at the end of the 2021-2022 season were:
1 Rahel Daniel (ERI) 3820
2 Lucy Mawia (KEN) 3780
3 Beatrice Chebet (KEN) 3780
3 Likina Amebaw (ETH) 3780
5 Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi (KEN) 3760
6 Dolshi Tesfu (ERI) 3680
1 Rodrigue Kwizera (BDI) 3840
2 Nibret Melak (ETH) 3780
3 Aron Kifle (ERI) 3760
4 Rogers Kibet (UGA) 3740
5 Thomas Ayeko (UGA) 3720
6 Joel Ayeko (UGA) 3700
Kwizera and Daniel were both rewarded for their season-long consistency.
Kwizera won in Soria, San Sebastian, Seville, Alcobendas and Venta de Banos last year, also finishing second in Atapuerca, and he took that form into the new year, winning in Albufeira in February. The 2019 world cross country 11th-place finisher went on run a national 10km record of 26:56 in Herzogenaurach – putting him sixth on the world all-time list – and finished 16th in the world 10,000m final in Oregon.
Daniel, meanwhile, won in Atapuerca in November and then finished fifth in Seville a week later. She returned in 2022 to claim the runner-up spot in San Giorgio su Legnano before winning at the Eritrean Cross Country Championships as well as in Albufeira. After that she switched to the track, finishing eighth in the 3000m final at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and then fifth in the 10,000m final at the World Championships in Oregon.