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05 April 2018 | in Cross Country, FISU World University Championships

A true test awaits WUC Cross Country competitors in Switzerland this Saturday

While this comes from the FISU World University Cross Country Championship in Entebbe, Uganda in 2014, the view will be quite the same: some of the world's fittest athletes battling it out on grass and mud for long distance running dominance

ST. GALLEN, SWITZERLAND — With the FISU World University Cross-Country Championship returning to Switzerland this Saturday for the first time since the inaugural edition took place in Lausanne in 1978, the world’s elite will again be treated to a course in that echoes to the roots of cross-country running.


“It’s a demanding course,” Hanspeter Feller from the Swiss Athletic Federation stated. While the weather forecast calls for calm winds and sunny skies on race day, heavy rain and the remaining vestiges of winter hanging on will ensure the 21st edition of this event isn’t a grass version of an athletics competition. The looping 1,600 M course also has a climb out of the start that gains 15 M over every round.

 The St. Gallen cross-country start line: It's here where one Imeet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same

Teams have already begun to arrive on the University of St. Gallen campus, an institution known in particular for its excellent schools in business administration, economics, law, and international affairs.


Organisers had been expecting a near record 24 countries to take part. However, because of late visa requests, student-athletes from Kenya and Sierra Leone could not travel to Switzerland. Still, some 160 athletes from all five continents are expected to take for the start line.

Swiss hospitality and an appreciation for endurance sport was on full display as teams began to arrive in northeast Switzerland 

While the dominance of African in distance running is well understood—especially within the university ranks with student-athletes from the countries of Algeria, Morocco, Kenya and Uganda—the teams from Australia, France and Turkey should not be underestimated, either.


Both mens and women competitors cover the six laps of the same course, with the women kicking off the event at 12:30 p.m. and the men following at 2 p.m.

 Winneie Nanyondo pocketing the gold at the 2014 World University Cross-Country Championship in a time of in 20:33.77 for the rugged 6km course


While high performance running will be on full display, the organisers haven’t forgotten about the students, employees, friends, families and faculty at the University of St. Gallen as there will be a charity run after the main even. Walk, jog or run, the charity run is suitable for runners and walkers of all ages and abilities.


Follow along here or at the official event website.


The scene from the start of the men's competition during the 2016 World University Cross-Country Championship