Samuel Tsegay led an Eritrean one-two in the men's race at the 28th edition of the ‘Cross de la Constitucion’ in the northern Spanish town of Aranda de Duero on Saturday (30).
The 25-year-old Marathon specialist, who can boast of a best of 2:07:28 over the classic distance, returned to the race after a three-year hiatus following his second place in 2010, and showed fine form as he covered the 9.985km course in 28:06 to score a commanding 31-second victory over his compatriot and 2010 winner Amanuel Mesel.
Mesel, however, was maybe running on tired legs after setting a Marathon personal best of 2:08:17 in Valencia only a fortnight ago.
Tsegay became the third Eritrean winner of the men's race in Aranda de Duero from the last four editions.
Uganda’s Dickson Huru, the winner of the first leg of the IAAF Cross Country Permit Series at another Spanish race in Soria last month, crossed the line third this time, another six seconds behind Mesel to complete the podium, coming home some 35 seconds clear of the first domestic runner Jesus Antonio Nunez in fourth place.
Hopes of a Spanish victory in the women's 6.105km race were dashed by Uganda’s Rebecca Cheptegei, who took the scalps of some of the host's leading long-distance runners in regaining the title she won in 2011.
Cheptegei crossed the line in 19:15, beating IAAF World Championships 5000m finalist Dolores Checa by six seconds.
Alessandra Aguilar, who placed a creditable fifth in the Marathon at the IAAF World Championships, finished third in 19:39, her first race since Moscow.
Further back was the veteran middle distance runner Nuria Fernandez, who finished fifth in 19:57. The 37-year-old is on the comeback trail after giving birth to her second daughter, Valentina, in June.
Sweet success for Aliaz in Quintanar
As is customary, the winners of 32nd edition of the 'Cross de Quintanar' on Sunday (1) were lavishly rewarded with their respective weights in chocolate, cheese and wine, all of which are famously produced in the area.
The spectators had some home success to cheer in the men's 10km race as Roberto Alaiz was a surprisingly clear-cut victor ahead of Uganda’s Simon Ayeko from Uganda.
Alaiz, who didn't get through the heats of the 3000m Steeplechase in Moscow, covered the course in 29:43, some 13 seconds ahead of Ayeko.
For the record, the 23-year-old Alaiz is 63kg and so the cupboards in his home in Leon are going to be well stocked for a long time to come.
Rebecca Cheptegei was narrowly denied her second victory in the space of 24 hours as she was out-sprinted in a closely-contested women's 7km race by Morocco's Saïda El Mehdi. Both athletes shared the same time of 23:07.
Alaiz and El Mehdi add their names to an illustrious roll of honour in Quintanar as past winners of this historic race include Haile Gebrselassie (1994), Zersenay Tadese (2005), Berhane Adere (1996), Gete Wami (1997) and Fernanda Ribeiro (1998).
Eliseo Martin, the IAAF world bronze steeplechase medallist from a decade ago in Paris, got the better of his younger rivals in an all-Spanish affair at the 22nd edition of the 'Hiru-Herri' cross-country race in Burlada, on the outskirts of Pamplona near the French border, on Sunday.
The 40-year-old covered the 10km course in 29:04, beating Daniel Mateo and 3:37 1500m runner Carlos Alonso by one and five seconds respectively.
The women's 6.12km race was won by 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships 1500m silver medallist Isabel Macias in 20:20.
A good Bett in Les Mureaux
Kenyan teenager Michael Bett, who is eligible for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene next year, was a clear winner at the 58th edition of the 'Cross International des Mureaux', in the north western suburbs of the French capital Paris on Sunday (1).
Bett finished 10th in the junior men’s event at the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships earlier this year but beat runners of all ages to win the men’s 9km race in 25:21, coming home 15 seconds clear of Belarus’s Maksim Pankratau.
Sarah Chepchirchir had earlier provided the first part of a Kenyan double by winning the women's 4km race in 14:34 comfortably ahead of compatriot Joan Maiyo in 15:05.
Natasha Wodak, a top 25 finisher at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships this year, prevailed over 7km at the Canadian Championships, held in Vancouver on Saturday (30).
Wodak covered the course in 24:30 while the men's 10km race was won by Lucas Bruchet in 31:38.
Steven Mills for the IAAF