Kenya’s Hellen Obiri and Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris claimed the victories at the 60th edition of Campaccio, an IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting, in San Giorgio su Legnano on a sunny and cold Friday (6).
Obiri, the Olympic 5000m silver medallist, held off Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon by four seconds to smash the course record with a time of 18:36.
Edris, meanwhile, regained the title he won four years ago, edging out his compatriot Imane Merga by one second in 28:54. In a repeat of the podium finish of the recent Boclassic road race, Jairus Birech finished third in 28:59.
Obiri, Kipyegon, world cross-country champion Agnes Tirop, world 10,000m silver medallist Gelete Burka, Etenesh Diro and Enatinesh Alamirew formed a lead group during the early stages of the women’s 6km race, covering the first two kilometres in 6:35.
Obiri and Kipyegon then started to push the pace. After covering the third kilometre in 2:55, they had a three-second lead over Tirop and the rest of their pursuers. They ran together for another kilometre before Obiri finally managed to break away from Kipyegon with little more than one kilometre left, going through the 5km checkpoint in 15:28.
Obiri increased her lead on the final lap and eventually finished four seconds ahead of Kipyegon, crossing the line in 18:32 to take 24 seconds off the course record set last year by Alice Aprot. Kipyegon crossed the line in 18:36, also well inside the previous course record, while Tirop was third in 18:56.
“It was a very good race, but it was very windy,” said Obiri, who intends to run some indoor races this winter. “It’s a good race compared to cross-country courses we have in Kenya.”
In the men’s 10km event, an eight-man group formed by Edris, Merga, Birech, Olivier Irabaruta, Conseslus Kipruto, Leonard Patrick Komon, Abraham Cheroben and Yeman Crippa took the lead in the early stages, going through 2km in 5:55 and 3km in 8:52.
Cheroben then went to the front, going through 5km in 14:41 closely followed by a pack which included Irabaruta, Kipruto, Birech, Merga, Edris and Komon. Crippa, the European under-23 cross-country bronze medallist, was eight seconds adrift.
Six men were still in the lead at 8km when Cheroben took the initiative ahead of Edris, Irabaruta, Birech, Merga and Kipruto, but his lead did not last long as Edris broke away with one kilometre remaining.
Only Merga and Birech were able to stay near Edris during the final sprint. The trio battled it out until Edris pulled away from defending champion Merga in the final straight to take a close race by one second, 28:54 to 28:55.
“It was a good race and I am happy to take my second Campaccio race four years after my first win in San Giorgio su Legnano,” said Edris. “I am aiming to win a medal at the World Cross Country Championships but first I will have to qualify at the Ethiopian Trials.”
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
1 Muktar Edris (ETH) 28:54
2 Imane Merga (ETH) 28:55
3 Jairus Birech (KEN) 28:59
4 Abraham Cheroben (BRN) 29:06
5 Olivier Irabaruta (BDI) 29:08
6 Conseslus Kipruto (KEN) 29:20
7 Leonard Patrick Komon (KEN) 29:40
8 Yeman Crippa (ITA) 29:48
9 Faniel Gebrehiwet (ITA) 29:49
10 Yohanes Chiappinelli (ITA) 30:09
1 Hellen Obiri (KEN) 18:32
2 Faith Kipyegon (KEN) 18:36
3 Agnes Tirop (KEN) 18:56
4 Gelete Burka (ETH) 19:01
5 Enatnesh Alamirew (ETH) 19:13
6 Etenesh Diro (ETH) 20:11
7 Sara Dossena (ITA) 20:33
8 Valeria Roffino (ITA) 20.40
9 Giulia Viola (ITA) 20:41
10 Sara Brogiato (ITA) 20:51