SORIA, November 24 – Reigning World Cross Country silver medalist Leonard Komon and Jane Kiptoo captured victories in convincing fashion at the 15th ‘Cross Internacional de Soria’ – the second leg of the this season’s IAAF Permit Cross Country on Sunday.
Komon won in 28:11 minutes taking revenge from his defeat to Spain’s Alemayehu Bezabeh in Atapuerca two weeks ago and has now completed a brilliant tally in November on Spanish soil having succeeded at a two XC permits (Quintanar and Soria) to bounce back from his Atapuerca loss.
After the opening two laps (4000m) the large leading group was formed by no less than 20 athletes.
It was Spain’s Valencia World indoors 3000m 8th placed Sergio Sánchez who injected a much brisker rhythm with the clock reading 18 minutes and only the Kenyan pair of Komon and Mark Kiptoo plus Bezabeh remained at his shoulder.
The decisive movement came with 2000m left when the 20-year-old Komon broke away to built soon a sizeable margin over Kiptoo.
At the finish line the victor enjoyed a 10-second advantage over his fellow Kenyan, who finished a creditable 14th at the last Worlds in Edinburgh, while the Ethiopian-born Bezabeh romped home another eight seconds adrift to complete a classy podium while a faltering Sánchez could at least keep Italy’s 2006 European junior XC champion Andrea Lalli at bay to take a solitude fourth place.
“It has been a far from easy win since Kiptoo, Bezabeh and Sánchez managed to live with my pace for much of the race and I had to open full gas in the closing loop to take first place. I liked both the circuit and the standard of the event,” confirmed a delighted Komon.
In the women’s race, Jane Kiptoo, who came third in the 3000m at the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart last September triumphed after being added to the start list as a late replacement.
The 26-year-old arrived to Soria fresh from an overwhelming 31:29 win at a 10km road race held in Madrid last Sunday (16) – not too far from her 31:15.79 10,000 track PB set in Ostrava last summer – so today’s success has just confirmed she’s in awesome form.
The women’s race also opened cautiously and by midway seven athletes had still winning chances, the Kenyan and Portuguese trios plus Spain’s Rosa Morató, the reigning European XC bronze medallist.
At the 5000m point the leading group had been reduced to the Kenyans and Portugal’s Ines Monteiro, the later unable to live with the Kenyans’ pace from then onwards.
The key moment came with 1000m to go when Kiptoo left her compatriots Margaret Muriuki – 8th in Edinburgh – and Gladys Cherono with ease to cross the finish line unopposed in 26:40 with a two-second gap on Muriuki, herself three seconds ahead of Cherono.
“Honestly, it has been a surprise for me to perform here today. Anyway I have felt better and better as the race developed and I have taken advantage from the penultimate hill to break away and secure victory,” said Kiptoo after the race.
Men (10,000m) –
1. Leonard Komon (Ken) 29:11
2. Mike Kiptoo (Ken) 29:21
3. Alemayehu Bezabeh (Esp) 29:29
4. Sergio Sánchez (Esp) 29:52
5. Andrea Lalli (Ita) 30:00
6. Ayad Lamdassem (Esp) 30:04
7. Carlos Castillejo (Esp) 30:10
8. Francisco Javier Alves (Esp) 30:16
9. José Ríos (Esp) 30:16
10. Alberto García (Esp) 30:27
1. Jane Kiptoo (Ken) 26:40
2. Margaret Muriuki (Ken) 26:42
3. Gladys Cherono (Ken) 26:45
4. Ines Monteiro (Por) 26:55
5. Dulce Felix (Por) 27:07
6. Elena Romagnolo (Ita) 27:21
7. Rosa Morató (Esp) 27:40
8. Nuria Fernández (Esp) 27:56
9. Judit Plá (Esp) 28:04
10. Gema Borrachina (Esp) 28:06