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Garrett Heath was a fine cross country runner in college. He was also a fine track athlete.

I remember watching him race at the World Indoors in 2012, and noting that he showed some serious guts and racing savvy when he battled against some of the world's best.

Several times a year, I am fortunate enough to catch up with Garrett, and I am always impressed by his sincerity, his love of the sport and his self depricating humor.

That sense of humor was quite apparent after he won the 2015 USATF Club Cross Country senior men's 10k in San Francisco on December 11. Waiting until the last 200 meters, Garrett went by Jonathan Grey and won, 29:06 to 29:10. "I waited and went by with 200 meter to go. With fifty meter to go, there was nothing left."

When I teased Garrett a bit about running the 10,000 meter distance, he made it quite clear he would run 5,000 meters, 3,000 meters and perhaps 1,500 meters, but twenty-five laps on the track-nein.

One month later, in Edinburgh, Garrett ran over 8000 meters of cold, muddy, wonderful cross country pitch. In 2014 and 2015, Garrett won the 4k in Edinburgh against top athletes. He did the same in 2016, this time, holding off Mo Farah, the finest distance racer of his generation, with 200 meters to go.

Bennett Grimes, a fellow Brooks runner, told RunBlogRun that Grimes' father, Danny Grimes a fine coach and athlete in his own right, believes that Garrett could really succeed over 10,000 meters. So does Garrett's coach, Danny Mackey.

For now, Garrett Heath will have to enjoy the RunBlogRun Cross Country Athlete of the Months of December and January from us. This spring, he told us he might race 5000 meters, 3000 meters and perhaps 1,500 meters. We hope that there is a 25 lapper in there, but we will be patient.

Congrats, Garrett!

We asked Lindsay Rossmiller to cover the 2016 USATF Cross Country champs for us, held in Bend, Oregon on February 6, 2016. Some fine racing and some exciting new discoveries for 2016!

One point about this race and champs. For the first time, women and men raced the same distance, 10k. In 2017, at the IAAF World Cross Country, both men and women will race over 10k. As Peter J. Thompson, one of the keenest observsers of our sport, and respected coach, noted: " Once again, the USA does lead and show initiative."

IMG_2313-600w.jpg
Women's senior race, by Lindsay Rossmiller

DSCN9408.JPGSenior women's race, Violah Jepchumba (2772) on the lead, photo by Justin Lagat

DSCN9416.JPGKaroki versus Kamworor, photo by Justin Lagat

The 25th Nike Discovery Cross Country, held on January 31, was a fine meet, with some surprising results. Read Justin Lagat's fine article on the races, and the surprises in one of the most important cross country events in Kenya.

A smiling Coach, Ben Rosario was beaming after the 2015 USATF Club Cross Country Champs last December 11, 2015. Hosted by the Pacific Association of USATF, in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, nearly 1200 athletes, from masters to seniors to open, competed over 6k to 10k. And compete they did.

But it was HOKA ONE ONE's Northern Arizona Elite that we salute here. Ben Rosario, a fine runner in his own rite, has hand picked a fine team of long and middle distance runners to help them challenge their dreams. Rosario's enthusiasm is, well, infectious.

His athletes made a spectacular premiere in Golden Gate Park. The Northern Arizona Elite won the women's individual race and also the men's team race. It is the men's team that we salute here, but we salute all members of the HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite team!

And just a note: watch the HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite next weekend in Los Angeles at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Special thanks to the Shoe Addicts on producing the video for RunBlogRun.

The USTFCCCA is the finest organization for coaches in North America. Representing high school and college coaches, The USTFCCCA has spent the last two decades elevating the position of track and cross country coaches in this country.

One of the prime examples of USTFCCCA's success are the High School Coaches awards. Recognizing success in all fifty states, and then, naming the top two coaches, one for men and one for women, the USTFCCCA has, once again, picked the finest coaches in the land.

If you are not getting the great information and newsletters from USTFCCCA, the please go to USTFCCCA.org.

886296_1640058822925401_7890853729180667447_o.jpgThe Nike Discovery Cross Country 2016 is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the race. Justin Lagat will be covering the race for RunBlogRun tomorrow.

REPORT

RONO IMPRESSES IN NAIROBI, HAWI WINS IN ROVERETO - CROSS-COUNTRY ROUND-UP

Vincent Rono continued to impress in the build-up to the Kenyan Cross Country Championships with a hard-fought win over a distinguished field at the Kenya Prisons Services Cross Country Championships at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi on Saturday (23).

Rono might be better known as a pacemaker on the commercial circuit but the 25-year-old is showing the form to challenge for a maiden place on the Kenyan team for the African Cross Country Championships in Yaounde, Cameroon in March.

Fresh from claiming victory at the final leg of the AK/KCB series in Sotik a fortnight ago, Rono notched up another win in heavy conditions over 10km in 30:11. He defeated Julius Kogo by two seconds with 1500m specialist Cornelius Kangogo third.

"The wet course made things a bit difficult but my good endurance and consistent pace carried the day," said Rono, who boasts a half marathon lifetime best of 1:00:52.

Last year's winner Philip Langat, who made the Kenyan team for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Guiyang 2015, had a performance to forget. He finished outside the top 20 while sub-3:30 1500m performer Silas Kiplagat was a notable non-finisher.

The women's race was lacking in well-known internationals but Japanese-based Pauline Kamulu won the 10km in 34:36 by one second ahead of Nancy Nzisa (34:37) and Eunice Kioko (34:58).

The second half of the county championships also took place across Kenya on Saturday. They acted as the qualifying races for next weekend's regional championships. From there, the top six runners from each region will represent their province at the national championships on 13 February.

The most noteworthy performances came at the Kericho County Championships where Pamela Cherotich upstaged 2011 Boston Marathon champion Caroline Kilel with a convincing 39-second victory in 36:44, while Geoffrey Koech won the men's senior race in 30:25.

World youth 3000m silver medallist Davis Kiplangat won the junior men's 8km in 24:22 while Eva Cherono easily won the junior women's 6km ahead of world youth 1500m finalist Ivine Chepkemoi in 21:21.

The Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country Championships were scheduled to take place on Friday but the event was cancelled in respect of the 60 Kenyan soldiers who were recently killed in Somalia.

HAWI GRADUATES TO THE SENIOR RANKS WITH VICTORY IN ROVERETO

African youngsters largely dominated proceedings at the 39th edition of the Cross Internazionale Della Vallagarina on Sunday (24).

Staged on an undulating looped course in the valleys just outside Rovereto, world junior 5000m silver medallist Alemitu Hawi from Ethiopia won the senior women's race by a commanding distance in 21:36 ahead of former winner Silvia La Barbera (22:00) and Ugandan teenager Mercyline Chelangat (22:02).

In the men's race, little-known Kenyan Rodgers Maiyo defeated world junior cross-country silver medallist Geoffrey Korir by two seconds in 26:40 with Ugandan youngsters Victor Kiplangat and Jacob Kiplimo sharing an identical time of 26:54 in third and fourth respectively.

Kiplangat and Kiplimo will both be eligible for the junior race on home soil at next year's IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala. The latter will also be eligible for the junior race in 2019.

At the CrossCup de la Province de Liege in Hannut on Sunday, 2011 world 3000m steeplechase finalist Birtukan Fente Alemu from Ethiopia prevailed in the women's 5.2km in 18:52 ahead of European under-23 cross-country champion Louise Carton (18:59) and veteran Veerle Dejaeghere (19:05).

Dame Tasame scored his second win in as many weekends as the Belgian-based Ethiopian followed his win in Kerkrade with another triumph over 8.8km in Hannut in 28:27 ahead of Kenya's David Bett (28:32) and Ethiopian youngster Teshome Shumi (28:32).

At the Cardiff Cross Challenge on Sunday, Caryl Muir returned from four years of persistent injuries to win the senior women's race in 26:52 while fellow British international Dewi Griffiths won the men's event in 35:28.

Steven Mills (with assistance from Kip Evans) for the IAAF

Editor's note: IAAF' round ups are fantastic. Great views from afar on events around the globe. We highly recommend the new IAAF.org site on a daily basis. FYI, we highlight top IAAF, Spikes, stories on the nightly (FREE) newsletter from runblogrun.com.

This story, from Justin Lagat, our weekly correspondent from Kenya (who manages the Kenyanathlete.com.

This piece is about the Uasin Gishu Country XC, which was held last weekend, January 16, 2015.

DSCN9164.JPGJoash Kogo, photo by The Kenyan Athlete

CO1_3855.jpg2015 SPAR European Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Our friend, Carles Baronet has been quite busy this past week. Here is his third report on results: cross country, indoor (US and European).

Here is the seventh report on European Cross Country season, with the most important cross country events in Europe.

BBC sports.jpgGarrett Heath & Mo Farah, courtesy of BBC Sports TV (great coverage!)

On December 11, Garrett Heath waited until the last 200 meters to go by Jonathan Pierce to take the USATF Club XC win! " I had nothing left with fifty to go" noted a smiling Garrett to me that fine day.

This morning, waking up in Salt Lake City to Cathal Dennehy's fine story and the news that Garrett Heath moved up from 4k to 8k in Edinburgh, in absolute crap weather (perfect for cross country) and he and Mo Farah dueled it out.

Today, Garrett Heath won. That is a pretty good opening for the Stanford grad, now Brooks Beast dude.

Just a suggestion Garrett, with the VO2 max you have, Danny Grimes, one of my old partners in athletics (we ran our first 10,000m together in 1976, he was first, Bob Lucas second and me third in hs division, winner was the late Homer Latimer) noted you have a stupendous oxygen capacity, you need to look at the 10,000 meters. You just out dueled the best long distance racer on the planet.

Garrett Heath is a real nice guy. He is also highly competitive and possesses the racing skills and guts to race well over 5000 meters and 10,000 meters!

But now, to the race!

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