Behind the scenes at the World Cross-Country Championships
What it looks like on the inside of a world championship event with Alberta native Jessica O'Connell
Tomorrow are the World Cross-Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark. The Crown Prince of Denmark is running, there’s a beer garden on the course and the Canadians are sending a stacked team – it’s going to be a great event.
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The course is one of the most impressive and fun courses seen in a long time. There’s a shocking amount of elevation gain, a water pit, a mud pit, and a beer garden that runners travel through mid race (beverage optional). Canadian runner and former blue jean mile world record holder Rory Linkletter called it, “undoubtedly the most challenging XC course in the world.”
The Canadians are sending a very strong squads including Canadian 3,000m indoor record holder Jessica O’Connell, 10,000m record holder Natasha Wodak and steeplechase record holder Gen Lalonde. O’Connell walked us through what the team did the day before the championship.
8:00 a.m. we ate breakfast.
9:00 a.m. was a team picture. This took a while because people forgot to show up.
9:15 a.m. we left for the course tour. The team walked the course and did a warm up. The course is stunningly beautiful but a bit gnarly so we practiced a few of the technical segments.
Noon was lunch time back at the hotel. After lunch we went out exploring to get some coffee, soak up some of the amazing Danish culture and shop a little.
5:00 p.m. I had a last minute physio treatment.
6:00 p.m. was our team meeting to talk strategy and logistics. The women stayed behind to discuss our own team goals.
7:00 p.m. we all ate dinner together. Meals at these events are great because no one has anywhere to be so there’s time to chat about running and our lives back home.
8:30 p.m. I’m now back in my room answering some emails and heading to bed early because the race is tomorrow morning.
Team Canada meeting. Photo: Alan Brookes.
Dinner the night before the race. Photo: Alan Brookes.
Gear issue. Photo: Alan Brookes.
Team meeting. Photo: Alan Brookes.
Start line. Photo: Alan Brookes.
Race cite. Photo: Alan Brookes.
Shalane Flanagan and world championship silver medallist Courtney Frerichs at dinner. Photo: Alan Brookes.
Team dinner. Photo: Alan Brookes.
Yves Sikubwabo. Photo: Alan Brookes.
Athletes in Denmark. Photo: Jess O'Connell.
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CBC is streaming the event live on their website starting at 5:45 a.m. EST. The events get underway at 11:00 a.m. local time. Full start lists can be found here.