African cross champ Aprot claims huge victory in Spain

Employing her trademark front-running tactics , Olympic 10,000m fourth-finisher and 2014 African cross champion Alice Aprot claimed a comprehensive victory over 8km at the 23rd edition of the Campo a Traves Internacional de Soria in the north-central Spanish city on Sunday.

Aprot became the third successive Kenyan winner of the women’s senior race in Soria and the 12th in event history, following in the footsteps of prestigious names such as Sally Barsosio (1994), Vivian Cheruiyot (2007), Linet Masai (2009, 2015) and Mercy Cherono (2014).

Aprot covered the 8km course in 26:18 and defeated a solid international field in the process as she kept up her winning momentum having won the senior women race at the Ndalat Gaa Cross Country last month.

Uganda’s Juliet Chekwel, who has twice finished inside the top-15 at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, was a distant second in 27:30 with Olympic 1500m finalist Sofia Ennaoui from Poland third in 27:51.

Timothy Toroitich was narrowly out-sprinted in Atapuerca last weekend but the Ugandan was back in winning form in Soria where he became the first three-time winner in race history.

Toroitich covered the 10km in 29:10 to defeat Eritrea’s world U20 10,000m silver medallist Aron Kifle – who is eligible for the U20 race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala next March – by 10 seconds while his namesake Goitom Kifle (no relation) finished third in 29:44.

Over at the Cross Le Maine Libre in Allonnes in France Kenyans took the one-two in the senior men’s 9.1km courtesy of Daniel Kemoi (27:29) and Alex Kibarus (27:53) while Caterina Granz won the senior women’s 6.6km in 23:31 ahead of Julia Bleasdale (23:40) who acquired German citizenship earlier this year.

In USA last year’s runner-up Pat Tiernan ended Kenyan Edward Cheserek’s reign at the NCAA Cross Country Championships with victory on a sodden and windswept course in Terre Haute, Indiana on Saturday.

Cheserek was looking to claim an unprecedented fourth successive victory but the University of Oregon standout, who began as the overwhelming favourite, had to settle for a distant third in 29:48 over 10km behind Australian Tiernan (29:22) and Syracuse’s Justyn Knight (29:28) from Canada.


-Report compiled from IAAF/