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Toroitich and Mccormack cruise to Alcobendas victories

Toroitich and Mccormack cruise to Alcobendas victories

Uganda’s Timothy Toroitich and Fionnuala McCormack of Ireland captured convincing victories at the 35th Cross Internacional de la Constitución, the second leg of 2016-17 IAAF Cross Country Permit series, on Sunday (27).

Toroitich’s victory was his second of the season and his fourth consecutive podium finish at this event in the outskirts of Madrid while McCormack dominated the women’s contest, winning by 38 seconds.

The men’s 10,060m event featured a breakaway group of five by the second kilometre consisiting of Toroitich, Eritreans Aron and Goitom Kifle, Bahrain’s El Hassan El Abbassi and Kenyan Jairus Birech. It was Toroitich who controlled the early going with Aron Kifle running closest.

Shortly after the third kilometre the Ugandan built a small lead but Kifle and Birech met the challenge and rejoined the leader.

The following 2300-metre loop, covered in 6:58 by the leading trio, didn’t offer any dramatic changes. My the midway point, El Abbassi and Goitom Kifle ran in solitude six and nine seconds behind while Spain’s Ayad Lamdassem and Italy’s Yemanem Crippa fiercely battled to be first European home.

Some 16 minutes into the race Birech could no longer match Toroitich’s rhythm turning the race into a two-horse battle just as a rain began to fall. Much as had been the case last weekend in Soria, Toroitich’s relentless pace reaped dividends by the seventh kilometre when he dropped Kifle.

By the bell (7:01 for the penultimate circuit), the Ugandan led Kifle by eight seconds, who in turn was three seconds ahead of Birech. Crippa was running sixth as the top European, 37 seconds adrift with Lamdassem another four seconds back.

Facing a course mixed with rain and mud, the last lap proved to be especially tough for the competitors. Toroitich seemed unaffected, padding his lead throughout the closing stages to romp home in 30:52, nine seconds clear of the 19-year-old Eritrean. Birech completed a classy podium 14 seconds behind the victor.

With El Abbassi and Gotom Kifle securing the fourth and fifth spots, respectively, attention turned to the fight for sixth place, with Lamdassem prevailing over Crippa in the very last metre, with both athletes credited with the same time of 31:43.

“I had already competed here several times in the past and knew the circuit was tough but this year was even more difficult and there was a lot of mud and I sometimes found it difficult to remain upright,” said Toroitich, who’ll now return home to prepare for the Ugandan trials for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Kampala 2017.

“That’s an important campaign for me as the world cross country championships will take place in my country, although it’s still early days to know what kind of performance I can expect there.”  read more on IAAF