World Cross fifth-place finisher Timothy Toroitich improved on his third-place finish in last year’s race to secure his second win on Spanish soil in as many weekends over 9.25km at the Cross Internacional de la Constitucion held in Alcobendas on Sunday (30).
Buoyed by a four-second win over a tough field in Soria last weekend, Toroitich pulled clear after six kilometres and crossed the finish-line in 28:36 to win by an emphatic margin of 24 seconds over reigning champion Emmanuel Bett.
In doing so, Toroitich become the first Ugandan winner in the 33-year history of the race.
Reigning world cross-country champion Japheth Korir has been out of form in recent weeks but the 21-year-old produced by far his best performance of the winter, finishing a competitive third in 29:01.
By contrast, Korir finished 67 seconds behind Toroitich, and 56 seconds behind Bett just last weekend in Soria.
In the women’s race, Doris Changeywo overhauled early leader Tirhas Gebre to win the 7.9km race by 20 seconds in 26:49.
The Ethiopian-born Gebre, who is based in San Sebastian in northern Spain, recently gained a Spanish passport and is eligible for the European Cross Country Championships which take place in Samokov, Bulgaria on 14 December.
Home wins by Hannes and Belete in Roeselare
Competing a long way above his specialist distance of 1500m, Pieter-Jan Hannes excelled over the 9.4km course in cold and foggy conditions at the Lotto CrossCup race in Roeselare, Belgium on Sunday.
The 22-year-old, who improved his national under-23 1500m record to 3:34.49 this summer, came through late to defeat team-mate Isaac Kimeli by five seconds in 29:02.
On today’s form, Belgium will be in the hunt for both individual and team titles in the under-23 race in Samokov as reigning champion Hannes and Kimeli are both still eligible for this category in two weeks’ time.
By contrast, Almensh Belete did a lot of the front-running in the women’s 6.25km race to defeat middle-distance specialist Maureen Koster from the Netherlands.
Despite complaining about a sore knee after the race, Belete defeated Koster by one second in 21:14 with veteran Veerle Dejaeghere a distant third in 21:54.
At the Cross de L’Acier in Leffrinckoucke on Sunday, 19-year-old Senbere Teferi was a clear-cut winner of the women’s 6.65km race in 23:33 ahead of her 18-year-old compatriot Weynshet Ansa – the winner of two races on French soil on back-to-back days last weekend – in 23:51.
European cross-country champion Sophie Duarte finished fourth in 24:01, three seconds ahead of Ireland’s Fionnuala Britton in fifth.
Birhan Nebebew completed an Ethiopian double in Leffrinckoucke in the men’s 9.95km race. He won in 28:58 just ahead of Great South Run winner James Rungaru from Kenya and 17-year-old Amare Hailemaryman who were both timed at 29:00.
On the comeback from injury, Boniface Kiprop from Uganda was eleventh in 29:39.
Samokov-bound Steel wins in Liverpool
Gemma Steel beat a typically strong domestic field in the women’s senior race at the British Athletics Cross Challenge race in Liverpool on Saturday (29) to seal her place on the British team for Samokov next month
Steel, who has lowered her 10km and half-marathon PBs to 31:27 and 1:08:13 respectively this year, pulled away from Emelia Gorecka over the second half to win by 11 seconds in 26:58.
“I have silver and bronze so it would be nice to get the gold,” said Steel on her goals in Samokov.
In the under-20 race, European and Commonwealth 800m finalist Jessica Judd also prevailed by the same winning margin in one of her last races of her junior career.
Callum Hawkins led a Scottish one-two in the men’s senior race, beating Andrew Butchart by two seconds in 29:26.
At the Polish Cross-Country Championships in Krakow on Saturday, marathon runner Iwona Lewandowska easily won the 8km race in 26:13 ahead of Katarzyna Kowalska in 26:35 while Krzystof Gosiewski won the 10km race in 29:29.
Cross-country races for juniors were held in conjunction with the Mau Peace Half Marathon in Olenguruone on Saturday.
David Kiplangat, who finished seventh in the junior race at the Kenyan Cross Country Championships in February, upset runner-up and sub-28-minute 10,000m runner Emmanuel Kiprono, while Sandra Chebet won the women’s race.
Steven Mills for the IAAF