In March the Danish city of Aarhus is poised to stage the toughest and most imaginative IAAF World Cross Country Championships in history

For cross-country traditionalists who enjoy mud and hills, the next World Championships in Aarhus will not disappoint. Such is the gruelling and picturesque nature of the terrain, athletes and fans will think they have arrived in heaven. Or, as the Vikings would say, Valhalla.

The March 30 event is being held in Viking territory, with the centrepiece of the venue being the Moesgaard Museum – which is full of historical artefacts from Denmark’s rich and rugged past.

Elite runners in the championship races – plus young athletes in schools and club events and recreational runners in a special mass race – will charge up and down the steep, grassy roof of the museum.

Elsewhere, they will face challenges such as a mud pit, sand pit and water splash, while also running through tented spectator zones where cheers and music might, if they’re lucky, take their minds briefly off the pain on a course that is relentlessly unforgiving and does not involve a single stretch of flat ground.

AW visited the course this month and a sizeable feature on the event will appear in the November 15 issue of our magazine.