In a spectacular showcase of talent, world cross-country champions Beatrice Chebet and Jacob Kiplimo dominated the Cross Internacional de Atapuerca, the second Gold standard meeting in the World Athletics Cross Country Tour this season, despite battling challenging weather conditions with gusts of wind reaching up to 45kph and persistent rain.
Beatrice Chebet, Kenya’s world 5000m bronze medallist, successfully defended her title in the women’s 8km race. She assumed control from the very start, with fellow Kenyan athletes Edinah Jebitok and Lucy Mawia in tow. However, Lucy Mawia couldn’t keep up with the pace and was overtaken by Uganda’s Sarah Chelangat early in the race.
As the race progressed, the lead quartet, which also included Ethiopia’s Likina Amebaw, established a relentless rhythm, setting a brisk pace. The decisive moment came just before the final lap when Chebet effortlessly broke away, rapidly extending her lead. Throughout the last lap, Chebet continued to widen the gap, eventually crossing the finish line with a comfortable 15-second lead over Sarah Chelangat, while Edinah Jebitok secured third place, a further eight seconds behind Chebet.
Chebet expressed her joy at securing consecutive titles in Atapuerca and announced her next appearance at the ‘Cross internacional de Itálica’ in Seville on November 12.
In the men’s 9km race, Jacob Kiplimo, Uganda’s world U20 1500m record-holder, established himself as the dominant force. Initially, it was Kenya’s Ronald Kwemoi who took the lead, with Spain’s world steeplechase finalist Daniel Arce in close pursuit, creating a significant gap ahead of Kiplimo.
However, at the 5:30 mark, Kiplimo made his move, bridging the gap to the leaders. Eritrea’s Merhawi Mebrahtu briefly joined the leading group, but as the pace slowed, he began to lose ground and was eventually overtaken by Burundi’s Rodrigue Kwizera, last year’s World Athletics Cross Country Tour champion.
Jacob Kiplimo, the Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist, significantly increased his pace during the penultimate lap, establishing a substantial lead. As the final lap commenced, Kiplimo held a commanding 13-second advantage over Ronald Kwemoi and Rodrigue Kwizera. Despite Kwizera’s attempts to shake off Kwemoi in the closing lap, the Kenyan managed to stay in close contention.
In a thrilling sprint finish, Kiplimo secured a convincing victory, finishing 15 seconds ahead of the second-placed Kwemoi, with Kwizera taking third place. The rest of the field engaged in closely contested battles for the remaining top positions.
Jacob Kiplimo confirmed his next appearance would be at the 7 Hills Run in Nijmegen on November 19, continuing to exhibit his remarkable talent on the international stage.