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Uganda’s teen phenomenon Jacob Kiplimo ran to victory at the Cross Internacional de Italica

Uganda’s teen phenomenon Jacob Kiplimo and Kenya’s world steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech captured commanding victories at the Cross Internacional de Itálica in Santiponce.

Held on a pleasant and dry afternoon with the temperature about 66F (19C), the men’s 9.9km event didn’t kick off particularly fast as a large pack covered the opening two kilometers in 5:50, led by Bahrain’s Albert Rop while the main favorites ran conservatively in these early stages.

The following 1.95km circuit took a faster 5:38 with eight men still in the heading group which included Rop, the Ugandan trio of Kiplimo, world 10,000m silver medallist Joshua Cheptegei and Mande Bushendich, Kenya’s Vincent Rono, Morocco’s world steeplechase silver medalist Soufiane El Bakkali and the Spanish pair of Toni Abadía and David Palacio who were fresh from respective performances of 7:47:60 an 7:54:33 over 3000m indoors last Friday in Valencia. Morocco’s 2012 Olympic 1500m bronze medalist Abdelaati Iguider dropped out during the second lap.

At halfway Abadía moved to the front and shared the lead for a while with the top Africans but shortly afterwards it was the teen phenomenon Kiplimo who injected a brisker pace which could only be followed by Cheptegei, Rop, Rono and the long-legged El Bakkali.

Kiplimo’s relentless rhythm – a frantic 5:23 for the fourth loop – soon paid off and he only had Cheptegei for company some 18 minutes into the race and they built a huge margin on Rop, Rono and El Bakkali.

Defending champion Cheptegei, who was aiming to match his fellow Ugandan Matthew Kisorio’s achievement of back-to-back titles (2008 and 2009) could only stay with Kiplimo for four minutes as his younger compatriot unleashed a devastating kick with the clock reading 22:10 to open a sizable margin on him already inside the closing lap. To the astonishment of the assembled crowd, Kiplimo effectively ended the race in a matter of seconds as Cheptegi proved to be unable to follow in his footsteps.

A stellar Kiplimo even smiled to the crowd during the last lap, his ease suggesting he still had another gear if necessary, while Rop began to threaten Cheptegei’s runner-up place way back.

The closing lap only took 5:15 for the 18-year-old leader and he romped home unopposed to claim his fourth victory of the current IAAF Cross Country Permit series and avenge his defeat from 12 months ago. Cheptegei managed to keep Rop at bay to take the runner-up spot.

“I decided to run conservatively for the first half of the race, then I changed the pace and felt great until the end,” said an all-smiles Kiplimo. The Ugandan rising star confirmed he will contest the senior race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Aarhus 2019 on 30 March, even though he would be young enough to defend his U20 title.

Asked about his chances of breaking the world 10,000m record on the track after his impressive 26:41 road performance in Madrid, he said: “why not? That’s a long-term goal in my career.”

(01/21/2019) ⚡AMP
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Cross internacional de Italica

Cross internacional de Italica

The Cross Internacional de Itálica is an annual cross country running competition that is held every January in Santiponce, near Seville, Spain. Inaugurated in 1982, the race course is set in the ruins of the ancient Romancity of Italica. As one of only two Spanish competitions to hold IAAFpermit meeting status, it is one of the more prestigious races on...

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Ugandans Jacob Kiplimo and Joshua Cheptegei will face off at the Cross Internacional de Itálica on Sunday

The pair are currently two of the world’s leading distance runners.

They clashed last year in this race, the victory going to Joshua Cheptegei on that occasion while Jacob Kiplimo finished runner-up barely one second behind so Sunday’s event will act as a rematch over the 9975m distance.

The 22-year-old Cheptegei looked destined for gold at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Kampala 2017 before fatigue set in during the closing stages, forcing him to settle for 30th place. However, he bounced back that season by earning10,000m silver at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 in a huge career best of 26:49.94.

His 2018 accolades include a brilliant 5000/10,000m double victory at the Commonwealth Games in April and more recently a world best over 15km with a stunning 41:05 performance at the Seven Hills Run in Nijmegen on 18 November.

As for Kiplimo, still just 18, he remains unbeaten this winter season having won all four of his appearances on Spanish soil: the Atapuerca, Soria and Alcobendas Cross Country permit races plus the New Year’s eve 10km race in Madrid when he clocked an impressive 26:41, albeit on an aided course. The two Ugandan aces should play a key role at World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus on 30 March and Sunday’s race will mark the season’s first round between the pair.

Mande Bushendich might well complete the podium in what would be an Ugandan clean sweep. The 21-year-old proved to be in top form in Madrid’s New Year’s Eve 10km with a 27:24 clocking to his name.

Kenya’s Vincent Rono, a creditable seventh at the Kampala World Championships and recent winner in Venta de Baños on 16 December, will also be in contention alongside Bahrain’s Albert Rop who is fresh from a victory in Amman on 5 January.

Watch out too for Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali, the reigning world 3000m steeplechase silver medallist; the 23-year-old boasts an impressive 7:58:15 career best which places him in the top-ten on the all-time lists. He will be joined by his compatriot Abdelaati Iguider, the 2012 world indoor champion and Olympic bronze medallist over 1500m.

(01/19/2019) ⚡AMP
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Cross internacional de Italica

Cross internacional de Italica

The Cross Internacional de Itálica is an annual cross country running competition that is held every January in Santiponce, near Seville, Spain. Inaugurated in 1982, the race course is set in the ruins of the ancient Romancity of Italica. As one of only two Spanish competitions to hold IAAFpermit meeting status, it is one of the more prestigious races on...

more...
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Records set at the annual San Silvestre Vallecana 10k as Kenya’s teenager breaks Kipchoge course Record

Uganda's Jacob Kiplimo and Kenyan runner Brigid Kosgei established new men's and women's records in the annual San Silvestre Vallecana 10K race.

Kiplimo, 18, completed the course through the Vallecas neighborhood in 26:41 here on Monday, besting what was thought to be the unassailable mark of 26:54, set in 2011 by Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya.

On a pleasant night with the thermometer reaching 50F (10C), the race kicked off at a frantic pace as an eight-man pack covered the opening two kilometers in 5:24, with Kiplimo and Kenya’s Solomon Boit taking charge of the rhythm. Spain’s Toni Abadía was the only non-African among them.

The in-form Ugandan then upped the tempo, averaging a terrific 2:35 over the subsequent three kilometers to reach halfway in 13:12, well on schedule to improve on the course record. By then only Ethiopia’s world cross country bronze medallist Abadi Hadis and Eritrea’s Abrar Osman managed to remain on Kiplimo’s shoulder with Uganda’s Mande Bushendich and Tanzania’s Agustino Sulle following.

The second half witnessed Kiplimo and Hadis’s magnificent display as the pair kept knocking off kilometers at a record-breaking pace. 

Ethiopian competitor Abadi Hadis finished second with a time of 26:54, while Kiplimo's countryman Mande Bushendich completed the podium.

In the women's race, Kosgei picked up her second Vallecana trophy in three years with a time of 29:54, nearly a minute faster than Gelete Burka's previous record of 30:53.

Kenya's Helen Obiri, world champion in the 5,000m, came second, just five seconds behind the winner. Tirunesh Dibada of Ethiopia, an Olympic gold medalist, had to settle for third.

A total of 42,500 people took part in the event, which features an amateur "fun run" before the professional race.

(01/01/2019) ⚡AMP
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World U20 10,000m silver medallist Jacob Kiplimo will be the man to beat at Vallecana 10k race

In the men's race, world U20 10,000m silver medallist Jacob Kiplimo will start as the man to beat. The Ugandan teenager, still 17, is unbeaten in four races this autumn season: a 10km event in Trento in October and three IAAF Cross Country Permit races in the Spanish cities of Atapuerca, Soria and Alcobendas.

Kiplimo clocked 28:17 at the Giro al Sas in Trento, his best 10km on the roads, a performance he will likely improve upon Monday in his quest for the win. However, the reigning world U20 cross country champion will face dangerous rivals including Ethiopia’s Abadi Hadis, the reigning world cross country bronze medallist and Kenya’s Benard Ngeno. Both competed at the Valencia Half Marathon in October, Hadis finishing third in 58:44 and Ngeno sixth in 59:22, massive PBs for both. Hadis, 21, also finished fourth in Atapuerca.

Watch out too for Uganda’s Mande Bushendich, a 21-year-old who improved his 10km PB to 28:01 in Durban in October. Eritrea’s Abrar Osman will also looking for a top-three spot after his recent 42:34 15km career best in Nijmegen while Kenya’s Solomon Boit, a creditable fourth (27:57.44) at the World U20 Championships over 10,000m, Ethiopia’s Mogos Tuemay, a 27:48:41 10,000m specialist and Tanzania’s Agustino Sulle, a 2:07:46 marathoner, should also fight for a top-five spot.

Spanish hopes rest on Adel Mechaal, fresh from an eighth place finish at the European Cross Country Championships in Tilburg and Toni Abadía, the national record holder for the distance with a 27:48 clocking set in Laredo last March. The 28-year-old came 14th in Tilburg and will defend the third place he managed here the last two years. Javier Guerra, an accomplished road athlete with 1:01:38 and 2:08:36 half marathon and marathon credentials, will also be on show.

The race is held on a slightly downhill 10km point-to-point course and starts alongside Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium before finishing on the pitch of another football team, Rayo Vallecano, in Madrid’s southern suburbs.

Forecasters predict a mild night on Monday with temperatures ranging between 8-10C and no rain expected when the gun sounds the start of the last IAAF Label road race of 2018.

(12/29/2018) ⚡AMP
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