Spain’s Ouassim Oumaiz and Ethiopia’s Senberi Teferi captured commanding victories at the 16th Cross Internacional de Atapuerca, the opening leg of the 2019-20 IAAF Cross Country Permit series held in windy conditions today in Burgos, Spain.
In doing so, Teferi notched up her fourth consecutive victory here and she is just one win behind her compatriot Imane Merga’s record tally of five. 20-year-old Spaniard Oumaiz, meanwhile, was a totally unexpected winner to achieve the first local victory since 2008.
The women’s 8 km event, which preceded the men’s race, kicked off conservatively as the opening two kilometres were covered in a comfortable 6:55 with nine women at the front, headed by Kenya’s Eva Cherono with Britain’s Charlotte Arter and Venezuela’s Joselyn Brea near the back of the pack.
Cherono’s relentless pace soon whittled down the main group to five women, with only her compatriot Gloria Kite, the Ethiopian tandem of Teferi and Fikadu Zenebu plus Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai for company.
It was midway the third and penultimate two-kilometre loop that Teferi first took command of the race, although she didn’t increase the pace as the leaders covered that lap in 6:33 compared to the previous one’s 6:24. Even so, Chemutai lost ground and by the bell the race witnessed the usual Kenyan-Ethiopian battle in the guise of Cherono and Kite versus Teferi and Zenebu.
Some 1.3 km from home, Teferi stepped up the pace to open a 15-metre margin on Cherono while Zenebu and Kite ran in single file way back. Although Teferi’s advantage over the Kenyan was never big, the Ethiopian’s win didn’t seem in jeopardy at any time and she crossed the line first for the fourth time in as many appearances in Atapuerca. While Cherono secured the runner-up spot, Zenebu outsprinted Kite in a thrilling sprint to take the third place on the podium.
Arter was the first European home, head and shoulders clear of Spain’s Teresa Urbina in seventh and eighth place respectively.
“It was a tough race because of the cold and wind but I felt comfortable throughout and managed to unleash my attack over the last kilometre and win,” said Teferi, the 2015 world 5,000m and cross-country silver medallist. “I hope to return next year to match my compatriot Imane Merga’s five victories. After my wins at the Valencia Half Marathon and today, I now plan to return to Ethiopia.”
Read more at: IAAF