Until 1986 Kenya had never won a senior individual world title, but then John Ngugi came along to win the first of five titles.
Despite being 76th in the
1987 Kenyan trials, he was selected and won the world title in a close finish with Paul Kipkoech. But he was more dominant the next two years, winning by 22 and 28 seconds.
The 1988 Olympic 5000m champion was only 20th in
1990 and dropped out in 1991 but returned in 1992 to win his fifth title.
The year after Ngugi made his final appearance, Tergat made his first. The multiple Olympic medallist, who went on to set a world marathon record, made a modest start finishing 10th (and sixth Kenyan) before advancing to fourth in 1994.
He soon dominated however, winning his first title in Durham in 1995 and then gold every year until 1999, often in sprint finishes.
The Portuguese was a slow starter, debuting with a 24th place in 1973 aged 26. But he returned in 1976 in Chepstow with a big win over England’s Tony Simmons.
After finishing second to Leon Schots in 1977, he did nothing of note until he repeated his silver medal in 1983.
Although in the veteran M35 category, he showed no sign of slowing and won in both 1984 and 1985, the latter at the age of 38.
The world record-holder at 5000m and 10,000m was also dominant on the country.
He started quietly with ninth place as a junior in 1999 but returned in 2001 to win the junior race by a whopping 33 seconds the day after finishing a close second in the senior shortcourse race.
The following year, still a teenager, he became the first athlete to win the senior short course and long course titles.
He retained both titles every year from 2003 to 2006 and after dropping out with heat exhaustion in 2007 he returned to win a record 11th senior individual title in 2008.
The 1964 Olympic steeplechase champion won his first International cross-country medal – a silver in 1960 – and returned to win in 1962.
He also won in 1967 and 1969 and came back and easily took gold aged 35 in 1972.
In the twilight of his career, he raced in the first four IAAF World Cross Country Championships, winning a team medal for Belgium in each and finishing in the top 15 in each.
Honourable mentions: double world champions John Treacy (1), Craig Virgin, William Sigei, Khalid Skah (2) and Geoffrey Kamworor plus four-time international winner Alain Mimoun (3) and double Olympic champion Paavo Nurmi.