The 1975 World Cross Country championships was on a horse racing course in Rabat, Morocco. Ian Stewart, the eventual winner of the 1975 World cross noted that ” it was terribly hot.” The loops of the course, on the horse racing loop, had a huge crowd of Moroccan fans and was favorited by the His Highness, the King of Morocco. It was to be one of the finest of all the World Cross Country Championships.
The World Cross country always went out insanely fast, and 1975 was no different. The New Zealand team had John Walker, John Dixon, Jack Foster, Dick Quax, Euen Robertson, the US team had Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers, among others. Gaston Roelants, the famous Belgian runner, who had won four World cross titles, with some very fast starts, was there, and all of 39. And the race was off! Emiel Puttemans, WR holder at 5,000 meters, was racing on the Belgian team with Gaston Roelants. Franco Fava, the fine Italian runner and writer, was in the mix up front as well. So was 1972 Olympic marathon champion Frank Shorter, who would have one of his toughest races in Rabat.
John Walker, the Kiwi miler lead for a bit, but Bill Rodgers went to the front with Scotland’s Ian Stewart and Spain’s Mariano Haro in pursuit. Soon, the trio of Rodgers, Stewart and Haro were off. ” I was not going to let Mariano get close to the finish, ” noted Ian Stewart, as Stewart had told this writer of several tough races in Spain where Haro just pushed the entire way.
Ian Stewart ended up winning the race, with Mariano Haro in silver and American Bill Rodgers taking the bronze! A month later, Rodgers would win the Boston Marathon in AR of 2:09:55, while stopping to tie his shoes several times. Rodgers’s amazing career was on. Here’s the story about that race in Rabat: https://www.runblogrun.com/2015/03/the-real-breakthrough-race-of-boston-billys-career-the-1975-iaaf-world-championships-march-16-1975-b.html