Team USA — led by Ben True — defeated Kenya at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on Sunday, taking the silver medal behind only Ethiopia.
Contested on snowy and sloppy grounds featuring back-breaking hills, the runners were treated to freezing temperatures, which served True well. As an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, he was an All-American cross country skier as well as runner. True was sixth overall, followed by three other top-20 teammates — Chris Derrick (10th), Ryan Vail (17th) and Bobby Mack (19th).
“I thought we had a real good shot of getting four guys in the top 25,” said True, whose finish was the best by an American in two decades. “It’s nice to see that we are all running well. Chris and I were sitting around the low 20s and feeding off each other, and I kept telling myself to hang in there for one more lap, as guys from other teams started to drop back and we started picking them off.”
With 52 points, the U.S. trailed Ethiopia (38) in the final standings, but finished in front of Kenya (54). It was the first podium for Team USA since 2001 and the first time Kenya was not first or second since 1984.