The World Cross Country Athletics Championship is the most prominent competition in international cross-country running. In most of the major championships, the best distance runners in the world are divided into a few races, i.e. 3000m Steeplechase, 5000m and 10,000m. However, in the absence of short races, the World Cross Country Championship includes all athletes against each other in a single race. Therefore, the competition is quite fierce.
Formerly held annually and organized by the World Athletics (formerly IAAF), it was started in 1973 when it replaced the International Cross Country Championships. The event was held annually until 2011 when World Athletics turned it into a biennial event.