1 . Course design
Because of variations in conditions, international standardization of cross country courses is impossible, and not necessarily desirable. Part of cross country runnings appeal is the natural and distinct characteristics of each venues terrain and weather. Terrain can vary from open fields to forest hills and even across rivers.According to the IAAF, an ideal cross country course has a loop of 1,750 to 2,000 metres (1,910 to 2,190 yd) laid out on an open or wooded land. It should be covered by grass, as much as possible, and include rolling hills with smooth curves and short straights. While it is perfectly acceptable for local conditions to make dirt or snow the primary surface, courses should minimize running on roads or other macadamised paths. Parks and golf courses often provide good locations. While a course may include natural or artificial obstacles, cross country courses support continuous running, and generally do not require climbing over high barriers, through deep ditches, or fighting through underbrush.
A course at least 5 metres (5.5 yd) wide allows competitors to pass others during the race. Clear markings keep competitors from making wrong turns, and spectators from interfering with the competition. Markings may include tape or ribbon on both sides of the course, chalk or paint on the ground, or cones. Some courses use colored flags to indicate directions: red flags for left turns, yellow flags for right turns and blue flags can mean continue straight ahead or stay within ten feet (of the flag). Courses also commonly include distance markings, usually at each kilometer or each mile.The course should have 400 to 1,200 m (440 to 1,310 yd) of straight terrain before the first turn, to reduce contact and congestion at the start. However, many courses at smaller competitions have their first turn after a much shorter distance.
2 . Distances
Courses for international competitions consist of a loop between 1750 and 2000 meters. Athletes complete three to six loops, depending on the race. Senior men compete on a 12 kilometre course. Senior women and junior men compete on an 8 kilometre course. Junior women compete on a 6 kilometre course.In the United States, college men typically compete on 8 km (5.0 mi) or 10 km (6.2 mi) courses, while college women race for 5 km (3.1 mi) or 6 km (3.7 mi). High school courses may be as short as 2.5 km (1.6 mi), but the most common distances are 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) for male runners and also 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) female runners. Junior high races are typically 1.3 miles.
3 . Start
All runners start at the same time, from a starting arc (or line) marked with lanes or boxes for each team or individual. An official, 50 meters or more in front of the starting line, fires a pistol to indicate the start. If runners collide and fall within the first 100 meters, officials can call the runners back and restart the race. They usually only restart once. Crossing the line or starting before the starting pistol is fired most often results in disqualification of the runner.
4 . Finish
The course ends at a finish line located at the beginning of a funnel or chute (a long walkway marked with flags) that keeps athletes single file in order of finish and facilitates accurate scoring.Depending on the timing and scoring system, finish officials may collect a small slip from each runners bib, to keep track of finishing positions. An alternative method (common in the UK) is to have four officials in two pairs. In the first pair, one official reads out numbers of finishers and the other records them. In the second pair, one official reads out times for the other to record. At the end of the race the two lists are joined along with information from the entry information. The major disadvantage of this system is that distractions can easily upset the results, particularly when large numbers of runners finish close together.
Chip timing has grown in popularity to increase accuracy and decrease the number of officials required at the finish line. Each runner attaches a transponder with RFID to his or her shoe. When the runner crosses the finish line an electronic pad records the chip number and matches the runner to a database. Chip timing allows officials to use checkpoint mats throughout the race to calculate split times, and to ensure runners cover the entire course. This is by far the most efficient method, although it is also the most expensive. The drawback to chip timing is its inability to properly separate a close finish. Chips times the feet, when the rule books say it is the torso that counts. It is technically possible for an athlete to fall across the finish line, legally crossing the finish line, but with their feet too far away from the sensor to have their finish recorded.
Contemporary races have now started to use fully automatic timing systems for photo finish accuracy to their results. This has dramatically improved the timing mechanisms of Cross Country over the last few years
5 . Scoring
cores are determined by summing the top four or five individual finishing places on each team. In international competition, a team typically consists of six runners, with the top four scoring. In the United States, the most common scoring system is seven runners, with the top five scoring. Points are awarded to the individual runners of eligible teams, equal to the position in which they cross the finish line (first place gets 1 point, second place gets 2 points, etc.). The points for these runners are summed, and the low score wins. Individual athletes, and athletes from incomplete teams are excluded from scoring. Ties are usually broken by the position of each teams sixth runner.
The lowest possible score in a five to score match is 15 (1+2+3+4+5), achieved by a teams runners finishing in each of the top five positions. If there is a single opposing team then they would have a score of 40 (6+7+8+9+10), which can be considered a sweep for the winning team. In some competitions a teams sixth and seventh runner are scored in the overall field and are known as pushers or displacers as their place can count ahead of other runners. In the above match, if there are two non scoring runners and they came 6th and 7th overall, the opponents score would be 50 (8+9+10+11+12). Accordingly, the official score of a forfeited dual meet is 15 50.
6 . Strategy
Because of differences between courses in running surface, frequency and tightness of turns, and amount of up and downhill, cross country strategy does not necessarily simplify to running a steady pace from start to finish. Coaches and cross country runners debate the relative merits of fast starts to get clear of the field, versus steady pacing to maximize physiological efficiency. Some teams emphasize running in a group in order to provide encouragement to others on the team, while others hold that every individual should run his or her own race. In addition, whether you run ahead of the pack or behind it and pull ahead in the end is important, but can vary according to the runners individual skill, endurance, and the length of the race. Runners should also account for food intake prior to the race. Most important, however, is the training beforehand.
7 . Equipment
Cross country running involves very little specialized equipment. Most races are run in shorts and vests or singlets, usually in club or school colours. In particularly cold conditions, long sleeved shirts and tights can be worn to retain warmth without losing mobility. The most common footwear are cross country spikes, lightweight racing shoes with a rubber sole and approximately six metal spikes screwed into the forefoot part of the sole. Spike length depends on race conditions, with a muddy course appropriate for spikes as long as 25 millimetres (0.98 in). If a course has a harder surface, spikes as short as 6 millimetres (0.24 in) may be most effective. While spikes are suitable for grassy, muddy, or other slippery conditions, runners may choose to wear racing flats, rubber soled racing shoes without spikes, if the course includes significant portions of paved surfaces or dirt road.
8 . Olympic Games
Cross country was contested as a team and individual event at the 1912, 1920 and 1924 Summer Olympics. Sweden took gold in 1912, and Finland, led by Paavo Nurmi, captured the gold in 1920 and 1924. During the 1924 race in the Paris heat wave, only 15 of the 38 competitors reached the finish. Eight of those were taken away on stretchers. One athlete began to run in tight circles after reaching the stadium and later knocked himself unconscious, while another fainted 50 meters from the finish.Jose And
9 . 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 (1933?1935).
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 mens race for the first time, and a decade later an African nation (Kenya) won the womens race for the first time. Ethiopia or Kenya has captured every mens title since 1981 and every womens title since 2001. Through 2010, Kenya has won 40 World Cross Country Championships and Ethiopia has won 23.
10 . Rule Changes from NSOs
Rule changes received from the NSOs, following the CCAA AGM and therefore approval of the years playing rules, shall be accepted for that season up until September 1 of each year.