The Campaccio Cross Country race celebrates its 65th edition on the Angelo Alberti cross country course in San Giorgio su Legnano on 6th January on the 100th anniversary of the local sports club Unione Sportiva Sangiorgese. The popular Northern Italian race is the eighth leg of this season’s World Athletics Cross Country Gold Tour. The Campaccio returns to its traditional January date after last year’s edition was postponed to the end of March due to the pandemic.
Dawit Seyaum from Ethiopia will take on Beatrice Chebet from Kenya and Nadia Battocletti from Italy in the women’s race. The top names of the men’s race are Italian marathon record holder Eyob Faniel and Aaron Kifle from Eritrea.
Dawit Seyaum broke the 5 km world record in a mixed road race clocking 14:39 in Lille last November and won the Boclassic 5 km race in Bolzano on New Year’s Eve setting a course record with 15:22.
The 25-year-old Ethiopian middle-distance runner came to the fore in 2013 when she won the world under 18 silver medal in the 1500m in Donetzk. One year later she won the world under 20 gold medal in the 1500m in Eugene 2014. At senior level she claimed the world indoor silver medal in the 1500m in Portland 2016. She improved her 1500m PB to 3:58:09 in Paris in 2016 and recently clocked 31:25 in the 10 km road race in Geneva last October.
Beatrice Chebet will run her third World Cross Country Gold Tour race this season after finishing runner-up in Atapuerca and third in Seville. The 2019 world under 20 cross country champion showed her great form on the track last May when she claimed the first Diamond League race of her career in the 3000m setting her PB with 8:27.49 in Doha.
Chebet will renew her rivalry against Eritrean runner Rahel Ghebreyohannes Daniel, who took a surprising win in the Atapuerca Cross Country Tour Gold race beating the Kenyan athlete by one second in a very close race.
Italian fans will cheer on Nadia Battocletti, who will run her first cross country race since her European Under 23 cross country title in Fingal Dublin. Battocletti showed her good form again by finishing third at last week’s Boclassic race. The 21-year-old Italian middle-distance runner started her career by taking part in the junior category races of the Campaccio Cross Country race in the past and finished sixth in the senior race in 2020. The engineering student won the European Under 23 gold medal in the 5000m and finished seventh at the Olympic Games over this distance in Tokyo clocking the second fastest Italian time in history with 14:46.29.
The line-up also features Klara Lukan from Slovenia, who finished second to Battocletti at the European Cross Country Championships in Dublin and in the 5000m at the European Under 23 Championships in Tallin, and Anna Arnaudo from Italy, who placed sixth at the European Under 23 Cross Country Championships last December and won the European Under 23 silver medal in the 10000m in Tallin.
The other names to watch are Kenya’s Eva Cherono, who won the World Cross Country Tour Gold race in Alcobendas and finished second in Atapuerca in 2019 and fifth in San Giorgio su Legnano in 2020, Lucy Mawia Muli, who won the World Cross Country Gold Tour in Soria and finished second in Alcobendas, Ethiopia’s Belayneh Pantaye, who clocked 14:44.51 in the the 5000m in Hengelo last June, and Kinga Krolik, who won the European Under 23 silver medal in the 3000m steeplechase in Tallin last July.
Italian marathon record holder Eyob Ghebrehiwet Faniel will return to San Giorgio su Legnano, where he finished fourth in last year’s edition at the start of a very successful season. Faniel went on to break the Italian half marathon clocking 1:00:07 in Siena Ampugnano. Last November the Italian runner of Eritrean origin finished third at the New York Marathon in 2:09:52 becoming the first Italian to reach the podium in this race since Stefano Baldini in 1997.
Faniel will face Eritrea’s Aaron Kifle, who won the world half marathon bronze medal in 2018 and finished fourth at the 2019 World Cross Country Championships in Ahrus. Kifle set a half marathon PB of 59:51 in New Dehli in 2018. In this year’s World Cross Country Tour Gold Tour Kifle won in Atapuerca and finished fourth in Seville.
The Campaccio race has always had the tradition in launching the career of rising stars. The new names this year to follow this year are Amos Serem from Kenya, who won the world under 20 gold medal in the 3000m steeplechase in Nairobi last August, and Ethiopia’s Yehune Addisu, who finished fourth in the 5000m at the 2021 World Under 20 Championships.
Italian distance runner Iliaass Aouani will be looking to start his season on a high note after winning three National titles in 2021 in the 10000m, in cross country and in the 10 km on the road. The athlete of Moroccan origin also set his 10000m PB on the track clocking 27:45.81 in Ostrava last May.