Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa (© Getty Images)
The 56th edition of the Campaccio International Cross Country, in the Italian town of San Giorgio su Legnano, will feature a Europe versus Africa battle between local hero and 2012 SPAR European Cross country Championships gold medallist Andrea Lalli and Kenya’s London 2012 Olympic Games 5000m bronze medallist Thomas Longosiwa on 6 January.
Supporting the main protagonists, the IAAF Cross Crountry Permit meeting will also see Lalli accompanied by his Italian teammate Daniele Meucci and Longosiwa’s compatriot Leonard Komon will also be on the start line of the senior men’s 10km race.
Meucci has won two European medals in 2012, a silver over 10,000m on the track at the European Athletics Championships this summer and a bronze earlier this month at the European Cross Country Championships.
Komon finished second in the 2011 Campaccio race, behind his fellow Kenyan and the reigning World Cross Country champion Joseph Ebuya, and holds the 10km and the 15km Road Race world records.
In addition, there will be two other very strong Kenyans in the field, including Paul Koech Kipsiele, this year’s fastest man in the 3000m steeplechase when he ran 7:54 .31 at the Samsung Diamond League in Rome in May, the third best performance ever over the barriers.
Also running is Geoffrey Kirui, just 19, who ran 26:55.73 over 10,000m at the Samsung Diamond League final in Brussels September.
The race’s technical director Marcello Magnani has also acquired the services of Uganda’s Moses Kipsiro, a two-time World Cross Country Championships medallist and Ethiopia’s talented 18-year-old Muktar Edris, a winner in the IAAF World Junior Championships 5000m this summer and also the 2012 Afrincan junior cross country champion.
“This year it was not easy to organize the race but, despite all difficulties, we managed to assemble a spectacular race with Sergio Meraviglia (the race’s general director),” commented Magnani.
“The difficult economic situation, the budget and the post-Olympic year have made our job more difficult. It’s prestigious but at the same time expensive to invite Olympic medallists.”
The women’s race over 6km features the well-known Italian pair of Elena Romagnolo and Silvia Weissteiner as well as Kenya’s 2007 World Championships 5000m bronze medallist Priscah Cherono.
Organisers for the IAAF