Ugandan blasts to senior men’s title ahead of Berihu Aregawi, Joshua Cheptegei and Geoffrey Kamworor
With storm clouds ominously gathering overhead, Jacob Kiplimo whipped through the testing World Cross course like a tornado. After taking bronze at the last championships in Aarhus four years ago, the 22-year-old came of age in Bathurst with a dominant victory.
Following warm temperatures at the start of the championship programme, the weather began to take a turn for the worst as the final race – the senior men’s 10km event – approached. This led to concerned organisers bringing the start time forward by several minutes as they were eager for the race to take place before the heavens opened.
Amid increasing winds and rain, the 118-strong field got underway, but one man – Kiplimo – rose above them all as he made a decisive move with around one mile to go before coming home in 29:17.
The world half-marathon record-holder is a man for all seasons as he also won the Commonwealth 5000m and 10,000m double last summer. Here he made light work of the undulating, twisting and varied terrain as he coasted to the title.
Birhanu Aregawi of Ethiopia took silver in 29:26 with reigning champion Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda taking bronze in 29:37.
Geoffrey Kamworor, the 2015 and 2017 winner, was fourth in the same time as Cheptegei.
Three more Kenyans followed in fifth to seventh places – Kibiwott Kandie, Daniel Ebenyo and Sabastian Sawe – ahead of Rodrigue Kwizera of Burundi in eighth.
Kenya won the team gold with Ethiopia silver and Uganda third.
“The course was really good,” said Kiplimo. “Even with lots of wind, it was really intense. I think for me it was really good because there are lots of hills where we train in Uganda. It was not easy but I did my best.”
READ MORE: World Cross coverage from Bathurst
First non-African was Sam Chelanga of the United States in 21st, followed closely by Aaron Las Heras of Spain.
The lone British runner, Zak Mahamed, had a tough day back in 76th in 34:05.
The European under-23 silver medallist said: “I really struggled today out there. The conditions were getting so wild, but it is such a good experience for me and I will learn a lot from it.”
Eamonn Martin, team leader for the Brits, said: “The championships had their challenges from the tough course to the weather and changes to timings, but our team did us and themselves proud. I couldn’t be happier with the results, the work they have all put in is paying off and they will all gain so much from the experience. The athletes, especially the juniors, will benefit so much going forward after this.”
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