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The USA Cross Country Championships is the annual national championships for cross country running in the United States. The championships is generally held in mid-February and it serves as a way of designating the country's national champion, as well as acting as the selection race for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.The competition, currently run under the auspices of USA Track & Field, traces its history back to 1883. The competition was held sporadically until 1905 at which point it has been held every year since. The National Championship has been sponsored by multiple organizations over the years, some of them holding competing championships. It has thus been known under a variety of names.
Women did not have a championship until 1964. Until 1979, women's championships were segregated from the men, on the same date in a different location.
Currently there are two major Cross Country Championship events, generally referred to as the "Fall Championships" and the "Winter Championships." The Fall Championships generally happen in late November or early December, which corresponds with the end of the broader cross country season from late-August into November. Since 1998, those have been known as the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships. The Winter Championships generally happen in late January or early February and since they are three months after the broader season, are geared towards selecting the international team for the World Championships which is generally held in late March. Since 2011, the World Championships are only held in odd numbered years but USA continues to hold Winter Championships every year.
There are currently several races held at the Fall Championships, the number of races depends on the number of entries. In addition to the open races for each gender, there are masters championships in each age division. Open and masters men run 10K up to age 60. 60 and above run 8K races. All women's divisions run 6K, but masters run at least one separate race. When there are a large number of entries, even the one division can be broken into an A section and a B section to make the number of runners on the course manageable.There are currently four races held at each Winter Championships: the men's 12 km open race, the women's 8 km open race, a junior men's race of 8 km and a junior women's race of 6 km. All four serve as selection races for the IAAF World Championships in which the top six runners from each race gain qualification. Each race awards medals on an individual basis and a team basis (where the performances by athletes belonging to a certain running club or sponsor are combined). Between 1998 and 2006 the championships featured short course races of 4 km for both men and women – these races are now discontinued. Occasionally, masters races, determined by age group, are held as part of the championships.Lynn Jennings won the championship nine times between 1985 and 1996, when there was only the one championship for women. She is the only competitor to have won the USA Cross Country Championships and IAAF World Championships in the same year, having done so three times consecutively in 1990, 1991 and 1992. Prior to the existence of the World Championships, Doris Brown pulled the same feat four times, three consecutively with the "International Championships" in 1967, 1969, 1970 and 1971. While Brown also won the 1968 International Championship, part of five in a row, she lost the November 1967 US Championship to Vicki Foltz. Pat Porter won eleven of the various men's championships over a seven-year period of time between 1982 and 1989, including eight Fall Championships in a row. In the 1930s, Don Lash won seven in a row (1934-1940).
One set of brothers; Bill Ashenfelter and Horace Ashenfelter have won championships. Two sets of spouses have won championships; Cathy Branta (Easker) (1984) and John Easker (1986); Shayne Culpepper and Alan Culpepper. The Culpeppers did it on the same day, February 16, 2003.
The competition has been televised in the past on ESPN2.

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