Hiwot Ayalew wins the women's race in Elgoibar (Photo: Alfambra Fundacion ANOC)

Hiwot Ayalew wins the women’s race in Elgoibar (Photo: Alfambra Fundacion ANOC)

Elgoibar, Spain – World cross-country silver medallist Hiwot Ayalew from Ethiopia defeated a high-calibre field over 6.624km at the 71st edition of the ‘Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza de Elgoibar‘ here on Sunday to extend her cross-country winning streak to four races.

Ayalew, whose older sister Wude won this race in 2012, arrived in gleaming form having won the prestigious ‘Campaccio Classica del Cross‘ in San Giorgio su Legnano on Monday, but the steeplechase specialist was given a sterner test on this occasion.

Given the calibre of the field, it was maybe surprising her most persistent challenger was her 18-year-old team-mate Alemitu Haroye, who is yet to break 15 minutes for 5000m.

Ayalew forged a winning gap in the last 400m, crossing the line in 21:59 with Haroye, who turns 19 in May, finishing only three seconds in arrears to the sub-9:10 steeplechaser.

Haroye will be too old for the junior race at next year’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships but she is eligible for this year’s IAAF World Junior Championships. Finishing ahead of two accomplished Kenyans with 5000m PBs half a minute faster than hers indicates she is on course for a medal in Eugene, not to mention a vast improvement on her 15:05.08 5000m PB.

Linet Masai, the 2009 world 10,000m champion, and reigning world 5000m silver medallist Mercy Cherono were third and fourth in 22:08 and 22:15 respectively.

Marathon specialist Alessandra Aguilar was the first Spaniard to finish in fifth in 22:47. Read more at IAAF.org

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