Paula Radcliffe in action at the 2001 IAAF World Cross Country Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright

Mud, mud glorious mud! World Cross winners’ kit on display in Aarhus

In one week’s time on Thursday 28 February, the IAAF Heritage Cross Country Running Display – 1819 to 2019 will open in DOKK1 library and culture centre in the city of Aarhus, Denmark.

Competition uniforms, spikes and medals from seven multiple world cross-country champions will be on show for a month up until the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Aarhus 2019 takes place on Saturday 30 March.

The IAAF took over the running of the former International Cross Country Championships in 1973 and since then many of the greats of long distance running have taken part in the world’s first extreme sport, which this year is celebrating its 200th anniversary.

Cheers to Treacy!

Ireland’s two-time world cross-country champion John Treacy has kindly loaned the mud-covered spikes from his victory at the sixth edition of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Glasgow in 1978. He has also lent the equally muddy competition vest and bib number worn when retaining his title in Limerick the following year.

John Treacy (left) with his cousin (right) at the bar where his spikes from the 1978 World Cross have been for the past 41 years (John Treacy)John Treacy (left) with his cousin (right) at the bar where his spikes from the 1978 World Cross have been for the past 41 years (John Treacy) © Copyright


Many toasts to Treacy’s success have been raised in the intervening 41 years, as the spikes have been proudly hanging above the bar in his cousin’s pub in Waterford, Ireland, since 1978.

Sergent at the double

France’s double gold medallist Annette Sergent-Petit has kindly loaned IAAF Heritage the mud-splattered French national uniform (T-shirt) which she wore when winning the first of her titles in Warsaw in 1987.

Three years later, USA’s Lynn Jennings strode to the first of three World Cross gold medals (1990 to 1992) in Aix-Les-Bains, France. A pair of her muddy winning spikes will be on display in DOKK1.

We have already previously announced the very kind donation of Kenya’s Paul Tergat’s competition uniform (vest and shorts) which he wore when winning his third world title in 1997.

Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan famously took the short and long course double in Marrakech in 1998. She donated her spikes to the IAAF more than a decade ago and their display in Aarhus will be their first time outside the IAAF offices since the IAAF Centenary Exhibition of 2012.

Slip sliding away

Mud, not surprisingly, has been a major feature of many World Cross Country courses but has there ever been more bog-like conditions than that of Ostend in 2001? The condition of Paula Radcliffe’s spikes in which she slid to victory in the Belgian port testifies not. They will be another of the star attractions on show in Aarhus.

Waitz and Tergat’s golds

IAAF Heritage is also immensely proud to announce that over the weekend of the championships in Aarhus, the five gold medals of the late great Grete Waitz will be loaned to the display by her husband Jack. Tergat has also agreed to loan his five golds to the display.

With cross-country artefacts and ephemera dating back to 1831, the mini-exhibition in Aarhus from 28 February to the 30 March really is a must-see for all true distance running fans and cross-country aficionados.