I wanted to take some time to let people vote before offering an opinion that may sway results so I could get a true reading of what people thought. I see that opinions are about as split as possible, although we have very few votes at all.
My take on this: Get rid of the short course race and return to what we had before 1998.
Before 1998, with only one race, the World Cross-Country Championship was the premier race of the year in the minds of many people. This was the race that brought the best of the best from all disciplines and threw them all into one race. You’d be hard pressed to find another race all year with a stronger field.
In 1998, they created the short course race with hopes of drawing more middle distance talent into World Cross. Well, it backfired. Instead of having the loaded field in the long course race that we were used to and then having a loaded field of middle distance talent in the short course race, the short course race brought in only a few middle distance runners and instead pulled some big guns out of the long course race. While it created the opportunity for some spectacular doubles, such as Bekele’s winning both races in last year’s event, it lessened the feeling that this was the one event where all the big guns were lined up shoulder to shoulder and battling it out in the same race. This lessened the value and importance that many people placed on World Cross because it wasn’t that premier race with all of the best in a single event that it was before 1998.
I say good riddance to that race. Bring back the days when all the top runners lined up in a single race to battle it out and someone couldn’t avoid a competitor by doing a different event.