Ethiopia’s Imane Merga and Kenya’s Linet Masai will be heading the field at the Cross Internacional de Atapuerca this Sunday in Spain. Merga is the reigning world champion.
Merga is also an accomplished track runner. He took the bronze medal in the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
Joining him in the opening race of the IAAF Permit Cross Country series is fellow countryman Dejen Gebremeskel, the 2011 World Championships bronze medalist and 2012 Olympic silver medallist in the 5000m.
Vincent Chepkok of Kenya will be trying to unseat the Ethiopians. Chepkok was the 2011 bronze medalist at the world championships.
On the women’s side, Kenya leads the way with 22-year-old Linet Masai.
Masai is one of the sport’s most consistent cross-country runners. She has won the silver medal in the last three world cross-country championships.
Priscah Jepleting and Mercy Cherono join Masai as part of the Kenyan contingent.
The Ethiopians have Belaynesh Oljira and Hiwot Wude. Both runners specialize in the track events (10,000m and steeplechase).