World Athletics Cross Country Championships Preview and Where to Watch

Published 28 Mar 2024

Joshua Cheptegei aims to add another chapter to his extraordinary World Athletics Cross Country Championships story in Belgrade, Serbia on Saturday 30 March.

The Ugandan NN Running team superstar has a rich and memorable history associated with the event - commonly regarded as the most competitive endurance race on the planet.

On Saturday the Olympic 5000m gold medallist and three times World 10,000m will hope to further cement that record at Friendship Park as he pursues a third successive podium finish at the World Cross.

The 27-year-old athlete made his debut appearance at the World Cross Country Championships nine years ago in Guiyang, China when placing 11th in the men’s U20 race before two years later competing in the next edition on home turf in Kampala.

Backed by his passionate home fans, Cheptegei seized control of the race and with a kilometre remaining appeared destined for victory in the senior men’s race only for his race to dramatically unravel in the latter stages as he finished 30th - albeit with the consolation of winning team bronze.

Redemption arrived at the 2019 edition in Aarhus, Denmark, when on the most testing of courses he kicked clear of his countryman Jacob Kiplimo in the latter stages to storm to the top of the podium and also inspired Uganda to team gold.

In the most recent World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia it was Kiplimo who triumphed with Cheptegei taking both individual and team bronze medals.

In Belgrade, Joshua will once again clash with Kiplimo while other key names competing including the 2023 senior men’s World Cross Country silver medallist Berihu Aregawi of Ethiopia and Kenya’s World Half Marathon champion Sabastian Sawe.

A much flatter course than the two previous iterations of the World Cross, Cheptegei performed impressively in his most recent run, clocking a swift 26:53 over 10km on the roads in Laredo, Spain earlier this month and will once again be among the leading contenders for a medal in Belgrade.

An excited Cheptegei said: “I am looking forward to racing at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships on Saturday, and aiming for a third senior individual medal. It would be special to me, particularly in the lead-up to the Paris Olympics, which are only four months away!”

Race details

Held at Friendship Park in Belgrade, the course includes a 1887m loop plus start and finish straights of 270m and 320m respectively.

Featuring two arch bridges, a hay maze and classic cross country hurdles – the course at both turning points on the loop will be marked by music stations.

When to watch

The women’s U20 race will kick-start proceedings at 11am (CET) on Saturday with the senior men’s race starting at 1.30pm.

World Cross start time in Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda – 1pm

World Cross start time in New York – 6am

World Cross start time in Los Angeles – 3am

World Cross start time in Tokyo – 7pm

World Cross start time in Sydney – 9pm

Where to watch

Most regions will be able to access a livestream of the 2024 World Athletics Cross Country Championships via the World Athletics YouTube channel and on World Athletics Inside Track (note, geo-restrictions may apply).

Some local broadcasters will show the event live or delayed. To find a full list go here.