CHIBA, Japan, Feb 21 (AFP) - World marathon best time holder Tegla Loroupe coasted to an easy victory in the women's race with Julius Kiptoo making it a Kenyan double in the Chiba International Cross Country on Sunday.
Loroupe, already having taken the lead ahead of American Deena Drossin after the first few kilometres, steadily outdistanced her and never faced a serious challenge clocking 26 minutes flat to win the 8km race.Drossin came in second in 26.13, while Daniela Rodica Nagel of France got past Japan's Chiemi Takahashi on the last lap to finish third in 26.33. Takahashi was fourth seven seconds further back.
"I'm so happy that my race was very well. I tried to mark a good time, not only just to win," said the 25-year-old Kenyan, who won the Rotterdam marathon in April last season with the fastest time in the world in 2:20.47. Loroupe added she is going to take a rest and recover to prepare for her next races as she plans to compete in a half marathon in Lisbon next month, the Rotterdam marathon and the 10,000m in the world championships in August.
Kiptoo had a tough time keeping pace with a six-men front-running group for most of the time in the men's 12km race, including Rachid Meknes Berradi of Italy, Jeffrey Schiebler of Canada and Aloys Nizigama of Burundi.
Kiptoo, Schiebler and Berradi made a breakaway from the group with the Kenyan in his last burst of energy soon after the final uphill road to cross the finishing line in 35.14. Schiebler timed 35.21, followed by Berradi in 35.24.
"It was tough, but the weather was good. I think that's why I ran good. I was running the way I'm going to finish my race," Kiptoo said of his last spurt after the hill. "Because I thought the guys are tough, so I had to keep myself in a good position towards the end to have enough strength to finish," he added.
The IAAF World Cross Challenge now moves to Nairobi (KEN)
the Nairobi International Cross Country on 28 February, the final stage in the Challenge
prior to the World Cross Country Championships, to be held in Belfast on 27-28 March 1999.