Senbere Teferi wins the Cross de Atapuerca (© Fundación Anoc)
World 5000m silver medallist Senbere Teferi defeated Olympic champion and world steeplechase record-holder Ruth Jebet for the second time in as many weekends on a cold and dry afternoon at the Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza in Elgoibar on Sunday (22).
Teferi, who also claimed a silver medal at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Guiyang 2015, defeated Jebet by 13 seconds in Seville last weekend and the Ethiopian enjoyed a similar margin of ascendency this weekend, covering the 7.6km course in 25:18 to defeat Jebet by 12 seconds. Trihas Gebre was the best of the Spaniards again, finishing third in 25:37.
Joshua Cheptegei is almost certainly the host nation’s best hope for an individual senior medal at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Kampala 2017 in March and the 2014 world U20 10,000m champion, who won the Ugandan Trials last weekend, scored another noteworthy victory with the championships just over two months away.
After breaking up the pack with 18 minutes on the clock, Cheptegei made his decisive move in the eighth kilometre to move clear of reigning champion Aweke Ayalew from Bahrain and former winner Teklemariam Medhin from Eritrea.
Cheptegei built up a commanding margin in the last quarter of the senior men’s 10.8km contest, crossing the finish line in 31:50 and some 26 seconds ahead of Ayalew. In doing so, Cheptegei became just the second Ugandan winner in race history after Timothy Toroitich in 2014.
Olympic steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto finished third in 32:27, one second ahead of Medhin. Javier Guerra was the top domestic finisher in fifth (32:31) on the road to the London Marathon in April.
Vernon and Adamu share the spoils in Hannut
Andy Vernon scored a DNF in his last competitive outing on Belgian soil at the Brussels Cross Cup just before Christmas but the British stalwart is back in shape and claimed a commanding victory over a solid continental field at the Cross Cup de la Province de Liege on Sunday.
Vernon won the senior men’s 9km in 26:54 ahead of Souffiane Bouchiki (27:07) while European under-23 cross country champion Isaac Kimeli, who is now racing as a fully-fledged senior, was third in 27:17.
Vernon is targeting the 3000m at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March but hasn’t ruled out doubling up and competing at the World Cross Country Championships as well.
Ethiopia’s Birtukan Adamu successfully defended her title in the senior women’s 6km, clocking 20:17 to defeat home favourite Louise Carton by four seconds. Romania’s Roxana Barca was third in 20:44.
At the Cross Memorial Jesus Luis Alos in Huesca on Sunday, 19-year-old Thierry Ndikumwenayo from Burundi outsprinted Ethiopia’s Tafese Seboka in the senior men’s 10.56km with both men sharing the same time of 30:50.
Carlos Mayo, a three-time silver medallist at age-group level at the European Cross Country Championships, rounded out the podium in 30:56.
Morocco’s Majida Maayouf won the senior women’s race in 27:14 ahead of Spanish veteran Judit Pla (27:22).
Jepchirchir eases to victory ahead of RAK challenge
World half marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir defeated a good field by more than a minute at the Nandi County Cross Country Championships on Saturday (21).
Jepchirchir won the senior 8km in 26:37 with Rose Chelimo, who finished eighth in the marathon at the 2016 Olympics for Bahrain, a distant second in 27:50. Hellen Jepkorir rounded out the podium in 28:09.
“I was using today’s race as a build-up for my main races in February and April,” said Jepchirchir, whose next goal is the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon – where she set her lifetime best of 1:06:39 last year – on 10 February.
Abraham Kiptum prevailed in the senior men’s 10km in 28:48 ahead of Emmanuel Bor (29:10) and Justus Kogo (29:15).
Steven Mills for the IAAF