Leon County, Tallahassee to receive economic boost from 2026 cross country world championships

Region awarded event Thursday by World Athletics
Posted at 11:24 PM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 23:24:32-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Leon County is preparing for a world championship in the years ahead.

The 2026 World Athletics Cross Country Championship is expected to pump $4.3 million into the local economy.

Kerri Post, Director of the Leon County Division of Tourism says this was a long bidding process and she can't believe they won.

"We could not be more excited and more proud," Post said.

Post says she's been working for over 10 years developing the cross country course, team and events and this moment is completely full circle.

There was a three year bidding process with World Athletics for the event.

"To be now at a point where we're going to be welcoming the world here to Leon County's Apalachee Regional Park in five years, I couldn't be more excited and proud," Post said.

The World Athletics Cross Country Championship will have more than 500 runners from over 60 countries participating in five championship races.

The best part, everyone in the community will have an opportunity to walk or run on the trail with the greatest.

According to Visit Tallahassee, this will big a economic drive to the city.

"We anticipate about a four and half million dollar economic impact from just that two day event alone," Post said.

Post says they're anticipating even more money leading up to the races; as family members and people will be excited to watch and flood the city.

With Tallahassee hosting this championship, Joseph Piotrowski, Director of Sports for Leon County's Division of Tourism says this brings validation to Tallahassee.

"There has been well over 10 years worth of work and dedication from our local community and our running community in support of this sport," Piotrowski said.

Piotrowski says they started this process with World Athletics in 2019.

It eventually came down to three cities worldwide with Tallahassee ended up being the perfect fit.

"To bring such a prestigious event and bring eyes of the world for long distance running to Tallahassee, the pride couldn't be rivaled," Piotrowski said.

The last time the World Athletics Cross Country Championships were held in the United States was in 1992.