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World’s most unique cross-country race has athletes run through buildings

The world's most unique cross-country race happened today where athletes run through water mills at Cinque Mulini in northern Italy

Cinque Mulini

#cinquemulini #crosscountry #campestre #sanvittoreolona

A photo posted by Chiara Malaspina (@chiara_malaspina) on

One of the highlights of the annual cross-country season took place on Sunday.

The Cinque Mulini, translated to five mills from Italian, was held in northern Italy and features one of the most unusual cross-country courses in the world.

The race was first held in 1933 and has been run every year since including during the Second World War with the course weaving its way through the small town and through several old water mills. That’s right, competitors run through buildings.

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Cinque Mulini is held in San Vittore Olona, a town of approximately 8,500 located 25 kilometres outside of Milan, each winter attracting some of the world’s best athletes.

It’s one of the most prestigous meets in the world having hosted no less than 33 Olympic champions, according to the international governing body for athletics.

Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, the 2011 and 2013 world junior cross-country champion, won the women’s race. Jairus Birech, also from Kenya, won the men’s race on Sunday.

RELATED: Ben True gives up cross-country skiing, is now one of the top U.S. runners.

The event was largely dominated by Italians in the early days of the race but with the growing popularity over the years, the race attracts athletes from all over the world. A Kenyan or Ethiopian has won the men’s and women’s race each year since 2011.

RELATED: Garrett Heath wins Great Edinburgh, defeats Mo Farah.

No Canadian has ever won the Cinque Mulini cross-country race.


Ha vinto quello dietro. #cinquemulini #sanvittoreolona #cross #crosscountry #atletica #iaaf #allblacks @cinquemulini

A photo posted by Carlo Colombo (@pubblicarlo) on

Highlights from the 2015 race can be seen below (it got messy):

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