On Friday evening, 30 of 34 U Sports coaches voted in favour of equalizing the men’s and women’s collegiate cross-country distances at 8K. This ruling will take effect in the 2020 cross-country season, pending a passing vote from the U Sports commission, but it will likely pass, given the nearly unanimous coaches’ findings.
For the past six years there has been discussion surrounding the distances run by Canadian collegiate athletes in cross-country. In 2012, the women ran 5K and the men ran 10K. In 2013, the women made the jump to 6K. By 2017, the women were running 8K, with the men holding steady at 10. This past summer, the U Sports Chief Sport Officer announced that going forward, the men would run 10K and the women would continue competing at a distance 2K shorter.
Ahead of the 2019 U Sports Cross-Country Championships in Kingston, coaches ultimately decided that in future, both genders should compete over 8K. Terry Radchenko, coach of the University of Toronto cross-country team said that he’s very pleased with the decision. “This is a big win for cross-country runners. This is a sensible progression coming from high school to university, as most kids finish their high school cross-country careers running 6K championship races. And most importantly, men and women will finally run the same distances.”