Kenya's Lydia Lagat (left) in cross-country action (© Getty Images)
Davis Kiplangat and Lydia Lagat took the top honours at the 43rd edition of the Almond Blossom Cross Country, the final stage of the World Athletics Cross Country Permit series, held in Albufeira on Sunday (2).
Held in sunny and warm (21C) conditions, the races provided different stories for the thousands of spectators. From the first kilometre of the men’s race, it was a battle between two Kenyan runners: Davis Kiplangat, representing Sporting Clube de Portugal, and Richard Yator.
Kiplangat, who had finished fourth in the 3000m (7:42.58) at the World Athletics Indoor Tour meeting in Karlsruhe just two days prior, was always at the front pushing the pace, while Yator was close behind, responding to all changes in pace.
But Kiplangat, who finished second in Albufeira last year, knows the course and took the lead on the final bend to gain a small advantage over Yator, winning by one second in 27:11.
After a long sprint with Portugal’s Rui Pinto, Eritrea’s Yemane Haileselassie finished a distant third in 28:33.
The women’s race was a different story. Lydia Lagat took the lead in the early stages and her pace was too strong for the opposition. By the half-way stage of the race, her victory was a foregone conclusion.
Lagat, the 2017 world U18 800m bronze medallist, eventually won in 20:20, finishing 20 seconds ahead of Eritrean teenager Rahel Daniel and Portugal’s Salomé Rocha, the winner in Albufeira in 2016 and 2018.
António Manuel Fernandes for World Athletics
1 Davis Kiplangat (KEN) 27:11
2 Richard Yator Kimunyan (KEN) 27:12
3 Yemane Haileselassie (ERI) 28:33
4 Rui Pinto (POR) 28:38
5 Rui Teixeira (POR) 29:11
6 Eduardo Mbengani (POR) 29:33
7 Miguel Marques (POR) 29:44
8 Andralino Furtado (POR) 30:00
1 Lydia Lagat (KEN) 20:20
2 Rahel Daniel (ERI) 20:40
3 Carla Salomé Rocha (POR) 20:59
4 Catarina Ribeiro (POR) 21:39
5 Katsiaryna Kerneyenka (BLR) 21:46
6 Edna Barros (POR) 23:14
7 Vera Fernandes (POR) 23:29
8 Ana Dias (POR) 23:57