Wednesday 9 March 2005 Monte-Carlo – Australia’s Benita Johnson, the reigning World Cross Country women’s long race champion will be returning to defend her crown when the 33rd edition of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships are contested in St-Etienne/St-Galmier, France, 19-20 March 2005.
Won track title
Johnson who won the Australian 5000m track title on Saturday in Sydney was the only non-Ethiopian, Kenyan or Ugandan individual medallist in Brussels last year. Yet it would be a grave oversight to imagine that the 25 year-old is the lone successful exception in an otherwise regular East African distance running party.
Oceania’s first ever World Cross Country medallist thanks to Johnson
In the women’s long race, of the 20 individual championship titles which have been at stake from 1985 to 2004, 13 have been won either by European or American runners or as was the case last year, Oceania’s first ever World Cross Country medallist thanks to Johnson. Of these champions, multiple long race winners such as Zola Budd (ENG 1985/86), Annette Sergent (FRA – 1987, 89), Lynn Jennings (USA 1990/91/ 1992) and Paula Radcliffe (2001/02) are all legendary names in our sport.
Also, we shouldn’t overlook the marvellous Marrakesh long and short race double (1998) of Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan ...