Twenty-three Canadians, including St. Catharines’ Mohammed Ahmed, will travel to Bydgoszcz, Poland for the 40th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Cross Country Championships taking place Sunday, March 24. The Canadian contingent will depart March 16 for a training camp in Walcz, Poland before heading to Bydgoszcz on March 22.
Canada’s senior men’s entry is led by two 2012 Olympians in Ahmed and Cameron Levins of Black Creek, B.C. Ahmed is making his fourth World Cross Country Championships. He competed as a junior at the 2010 edition which was also held in Bydgosccz. Ahmed isn’t the only member of the senior team who brings World Cross Country experience: Lucas Bruchet (2010) of White Rock, B.C., Levins (2011) and Kelly Wiebe (2011) of Regina, Sask., have all run at cross country Worlds.
The senior men’s 12-kilometre race is scheduled for March 24.
The World’s will get underway with the junior women’s 6-kilometre race on March 24. The junior women earned their spot at the World Championships by winning the team title at the North America, Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) Cross Country Championships in February.
The junior men take off in the 8-kilometre race the same day. Kingsville, Ont.’s, Ryan Sleiman led the junior men at the NACAC Championships with an individual fourth place on the team’s way to a title.
The senior women will be led by a couple of World Cross Country Championship veterans in Maria Bernard of Calgary and Lindsay Carson of Cambridge, Ont. Bernard competed in the junior category at the 2011 edition while Carson ran as a junior at the 2008 World Cross Country Championships.
The senior women took team gold at the NACAC Championships led by Natasha Fraser of Port Moody, B.C., and Rachel Cliff of Vancouver, B.C., who won individual gold and silver respectively.
Follow Team Canada leading into and throughout the event on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow these World Cross Country team members on Twitter: Mohammed Ahmed (@Moh_Speed), Maria Bernard (@maria_bernard), Lucas Bruchet (@lucasbruchet), Rachel Cliff (@Dangerous_Cliff), Jillian Forsey (@jillianforsey), Natasha Fraser (@tasha_fraser4), Rachel Hannah (@RachelHannahRD), Cam Levins (@CamLevins), Gabriella Stafford (@GabrielaMariaS), Mathew Walters (@WaltersM17), Chris Winter (@cwinter3).