For immediate release: July 15, 2022
Leon County Wins Bid to Host World Cross Country Championships in 2026 at Apalachee Regional Park
Today, World Athletics announced that Leon County has been awarded the 2026 World Athletics Cross Country Championships at the award-winning Apalachee Regional Park. As the most prestigious competition in international cross country running, this event marks the first world championship sporting event ever to be held in Tallahassee/Leon County. Held since 1973 in cities across the globe, including Paris, Rome, Denmark and others, the World Athletics Cross Country Championships has only been held in the U.S. twice: East Rutherford, New Jersey, in 1984 and Boston, Massachusetts, in 1992.
“It is the highest honor for Leon County to be chosen as the host location for the World Athletics Cross Country Championships,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Bill Proctor. “We are thrilled to see this world event come to Leon County along with the incredible exposure and economic impact it will bring to the community.”
World Athletics is the international governing body for all running, jumping, throwing and walking sports. From humble beginnings, the World Athletics Cross Country Championships has become one of the most exciting footraces in the world, featuring the world’s toughest runners.
“We are beyond excited to have been chosen to host the 2026 World Athletics Cross Country Championships,” said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. “Five years ago, we sought to host the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships as the most prestigious cross country destination in the nation, and this past November, that goal became a reality. Now, we look ahead to hosting the world’s preeminent cross country champions.”
The World Athletics Cross Country Championship is expected to draw more than 550 runners from over 60 countries that will compete in five official World championship races at Apalachee Regional Park. While it will be internationally broadcast, the event is projected to be attended by 10,000 spectators from around the world, bringing in an estimated economic impact of over $4.3 million. This announcement marks the beginning of increased visibility, additional events and training opportunities that come with the world championship site.
“In 2009, we set out to create an award-winning cross country course that could host local, state and national competitions. Now, 13 years later, we will be hosting the world running competition,” said Kerri L. Post, Director of the Leon County Division of Tourism. “Winning the bid to host the most important international running event in the world and being listed among some of the best host cities in the world, speaks volumes to the vision of the Board of County Commissioners and our team who continue to dream big. This event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that highlights Leon County’s success in hosting running events and commitment to the sport of cross country.”
For more information, contact Scott Lindeman, Marketing Communications Director, Leon County Tourism/Visit Tallahassee at (850) 606-2322 office, (850) 508-4461 cell or Scott.Lindeman@VisitTallahassee.com.