US marathon record holder Deena Kastor may well be best remembered for her feats on the road, but the seeds for her success were unquestionably honed in the white-hot competitive furnace of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
‘LOVE’ FOR CROSS COUNTRY EARLY ON
Immersed in athletics from a young age, Kastor “loved” cross country in her formative years and won her maiden national cross country title aged just 12.
Later while attending Agoura High School in Los Angeles County she earned a spot on successive US U20 teams to compete at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, where she went on to place 72nd and 40th, respectively, in Aix-les-Bains in France in 1990 and the following year in Antwerp.
Both U20 races were thrilling for the teenager. She recalls her pride at wearing the US uniform and although she has vague recollections of the specific races, she says: “I couldn’t believe that runners surged into hills, on top of hills and again down the hill. I couldn’t believe that mud, obstacles and weather had no hindrance on a blistering pace.”
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