Malindi Elmore and junior Lindsay Carson took the women’s crowns as Canada claimed three of the four team titles to dominate the 3rd NACAC Cross Country Championships, in Clermont, Florida, USA, on Saturday (3 March) for the third year in a row with the attendance of 170 athletes from a record 16 countries.
In the women’s senior 6km run, Elmore clocked 20:41 minutes to prevail over steeplechase specialist Korene Hinds of Jamaica (20:59) and USA’s Desiraye Osburn (21:06).
“It’s a great way to start with the outdoor season in track coming up,” said the 26-year old from Calgary, one of Canada’s top 1.500m runners. “The race went as I expected. I had a very strong first lap and was able to take control of the race and build my lead in the hilly sections of the course”, the 4:08.42 1.500m performer added.
Canada was 1-2 in the junior women’s 4km race with Lindsay Carson first in 13:59 and Marie-Louise Asselin second in 14:08.00.
Aurora Scott of the USA completed the podium spots with her 14:20-minute effort for third.
“I felt really good from the start. I got a good lead early and really went into my zone. I was really able to focus on my own race. This was a great opportunity to measure the indoor training we’ve been doing over the winter”, said 17-year old Carson.
Canada completed the medal haul by sweeping up all team contests.
The men’s honours went to USA’s Fasil Bizuneh in the senior’s category and CAC junior champion Diego Borrego of Mexico.
Bizuneh, a 26-year old 1:02:59 half marathoner, took control of the race in the fourth and final lap of the 2km loop course over early leader Celedonio Rodriguez, also of the USA.
Bizuneh progressively pulled away to a five second win over Rodriguez, crossing the finish line in 24:46. Michael Spence (24:59) and Ryan Shay (25:01) completed the US sweep.
With his countryman and two-time NACAC cross country champion Juan Luis Barrios absent, José Acierno was Mexico’s top finisher, in fifth.
Diego Borrero, the two-time CAC junior championships gold medallists, saved the Mexican honour with a convincing display in the men’s 6km junior race, securing gold in 18:50 minutes, ahead of Canadians Matthew Leeder (18:56) and Matthew Hughes (19:28).
Jose C. Raxon and Alfredo Arevalo, sixth and seventh in the individual race, joined efforts to give Guatemala the team silver, the only medal that escaped to the three North American countries.
The event served as a tune-up for the 35th IAAF World Cross Country Championships, to be held in Mombasa, Kenya, on 24 March.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF
Individual and team medallists:
Junior Women's 4 km
1. Lindsay Carson Canada 13:59
2. Marie-Loiuse Asselim Canada 14:08
3. Aurora Scott USA 14:20
1. Canada 18
2. USA 26
3. Jamaica 45
Junior Men's 6 km
1. Diego Borrego Mexico 18:50
2. Matthew Leeder Canada 18:56
3. Matthew Hughes 19:28
1. Canada 22
2. USA 27
3. Puerto Rico 62
Senior Women's 6 km
1. Malindi Elmore Canada 20:41
2. Korene Hinds Jamaica 20:59
3. Desiraye Osburn USA 21:06
1. Canada 21
2. USA 41
3. Jamaica 44
Senior Men's 8 km
1. Fasil Bizuneh USA 24:46
2. Celedon Rodriguez USA 24:51
3. Michael Spence USA 24:59
1. USA 10
2. Guatemala 58
3. Canada 59