On Thursday, November 30, Austin, Texas, will host the 2023 Sound Running Cross Champs, the focal point of the World Athletics Cross Country Tour. It is the seventh Gold stage of the 2023/24 World Athletics Cross Country Tour.
Ednah Kurgat, the US cross-country champion, is set to challenge her previous third-place finish at the Cross Champs in Austin this Thursday.
Kurgat, who finished 18th in her last cross-country race at the World Championships in Bathurst, has had a successful track season in 2023, achieving personal bests in the 5000m and 10,000m, and securing a bronze in the 10,000m at the Pan-American Games. Her road race achievements include winning the US 6km title and earning national medals in 10km and 20km events.
In Austin, Kurgat will be competing against strong contenders like Kenya's Mercy Chelangat and the USA's Krissy Gear, along with other accomplished athletes. Chelangat, an NCAA champion in 10,000m and cross country, recently debuted in the half marathon, while Gear, the US steeplechase champion, is entering her first race since the World Championships in Budapest.
Katie Izzo and Marisa Howard, both having represented the USA at the World Cross, are also in strong form, with Izzo setting personal bests in the 10,000m and half marathon this year. Howard, a 2019 Pan-American Games bronze medallist in steeplechase, competed at the 2017 World Cross.
Ethiopia's Mahelet Mulugeta and the USA's Emily Venters, with impressive track records, are also expected to be competitive.
In the men's category, Wesley Kiptoo and Olin Hacker, who finished closely in last year's race, are eyeing podium positions after strong performances this year. Kiptoo, a former NCAA indoor 5000m champion, recently debuted in the marathon, while Hacker has set personal bests across various distances.
They will face stiff competition from Charles Hicks of Britain, a European U23 5000m champion and cross country specialist, and South Africa's Adriaan Wildschutt, who has set multiple national records this year and recently won a 10km race in Cape Town.
Other notable contenders include Tunisia's Ahmed Jaziri, Kenya's Vincent Kiprop, and the USA's Casey Comber, each bringing their unique strengths to what promises to be a highly competitive event.