Defending men's champion Imane Merga (ETH) at the official IAAF Press Conference for the 40th edition of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, Saturday 23 March (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News San Giorgio su Legnano, Italy

Merga, Kipsiro, Kipruto and Chemos added to the Campaccio fields

The 2014 Campaccio cross country meeting on 6 January , the first of two IAAF Cross Country Permit meetings in Italy in January, will be a rematch of the sharp end of the 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships senior men’s race, organisers announced on Thursday (19).

In addition to the already announced gold medallist from Bydgoszcz, Kenya’s Japhet Korir, the men's race at the 57th edition the famous meeting at San Giorgio su Legnano will have Ethiopia’s Imane Merga on the start line.

Merga won the silver medal in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz in March, and was just unable to defend the title he won in 2011 when the IAAF World Cross Country Championships were held in Punta Umbria, Spain.

Uganda’s Moses Kipsiro, fourth in Bydgoszcz last March and an IAAF World Cross Country Championships silver medallist in 2009, is also in the strong men’s field.

Another leading contender for a place in the top three in the 2014 Campaccio men’s race will be Kenya’s Conseslus Kipruto, the 2013 IAAF World Championships 3000m Steeplechase silver medallist.

Kipruto, who only turned 19 two weeks ago, is also a notable cross country runner and finished fifth in the junior men’s race at this year’s World Cross Country Championships.

From Asia, Bahrain’s Albert Rop also had some good Cross Country outings last winter and improved to be the second fastest 5000m man of 2013 when clocked 12:51.96 at IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco.

Lalli and Meucci provide local interest

The Italian challenge in Campaccio will be led by Andrea Lalli, the 2012 SPAR European Cross Country Championships gold medallist, and Daniele Meucci, who finished third behind his compatriot in Budapest just over 12 months ago.

Kenya’s Milcah Chemos, the 2013 IAAF World Championships 3000m Steeplechase winner, is the top name in the women’s race.

Chemos will face her fellow Kenyan, three-time World Cross Country Championships silver medallist Linet Masai, who also won the 2009 10,000m World title.

Not to be written off as well is Bahrain’s Mimi Belete, the 2010 Asian Games 5000m champion who can boast of personal bests of 4:00.25 for 1500m and 8.32.18 for 3000m.

Veronica Inglese, eighth at the 2013 European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade earlier this month, and London 2012 Olympic Games 5000m finalist Elena Romagnolo will carry the Italian hopes in the world class field.

“I have worked for the Campaccio for seven years. Despite the economic crisis, we are pleased that athletes enjoy running in San Giorgio su Legnano, in one of the best cross country races in the world,” said Campaccio technical director Marcello Magnani.

 “The Campaccio Cross Country race has an important social role for the younger generations. If we have managed to organize this race for 57 years, it is due to the hard work of our volunteers. I am pleased to say that there are a lot of young people who are now involved from this generation. It means that the passion for cross country will be transferred to the younger generations,” added Claudio Pastori, the President of the Local Organizing Club Unione Sportiva Sangiorgese.

Organisers for the IAAF