World championships

Europeans dominated early International Cross Country Championships, first held at the Hamilton Park Racecourse in Scotland on 28 March 1903. England won the first 14 titles, and 43 of 59 until the IAAF took over the competition in 1973. France was the next most successful country in the early years, winning 12 championships between 1922 and 1956. Belgium is the only other country to win at the International Cross Country Championship, capturing titles in 1948, 1957, 1961 and 1963. The English also dominated the individual competition, with an Englishman winning the individual title 35 times, including three wins by Jack Holden (19331935). The first international cross country championship for women was held in 1931, and thirteen more times through 1972. England won 12 of these early championships, losing only in 1968 and 1969 (to the United States). American Doris Brown won five consecutive individual titles between 1967 and 1971. Beginning in 1973, the IAAF began hosting the renamed World Cross Country Championships each year. In 1975, the New Zealand men and United States women won, marking the first championships by non-European countries. In 1981 an African nation (Ethiopia) won the men's race for the first time, and a decade later an African nation (Kenya) won the women's race for the first time. Ethiopia or Kenya has captured every men's title since 1981 and every women's title since 2001. Through 2010, Kenya has won 40 World Cross Country Championships and Ethiopia has won 23. The International Cross Country Championships was an annual international competition in cross countr

running. It was created in 1903 by the International Cross Country Union (ICCU) and it marked the first time that an annual international championships had been held for the sport. It began its life as contest between the four Home Nations of the United Kingdom. The event became increasingly international over its history, beginning with the admittance of the first non-UK country in 1907 (France), the addition of several other Continental European countries in the 1920s, and then the introduction of Tunisia in 1958 which saw an African team compete for the first time.[1] The championships featured only a senior men's race from 1903 to 1961, at which point an under-21s event was introduced. After some years as an unsanctioned competition, a women's race finally gained official acceptance in 1967.[1] The event lasted from 1903 to 1972 at the 1971 ICCU Congress members decided to transfer organisation of the event to the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF), a move which was finalised after the 1972 ICC Championships and led to the first IAAF World Cross Country Championships in 1973.[2] The International Cross Country Championships featured a number of running greats, including: Alfred Shrubb (the inaugural race winner) and Jean Bouin in its early years, Frank Sando who won twice, as well as Jack Holden and Alain Mimoun who both won the race a record four times, and then Franjo Mihalic, Gaston Roelants and David Bedford in its later years. American runner Doris Brown was dominant in the short history of the women's race, winning all but two of the official women's races.