Events & Meetings

Lahti dominates in Mol on the road to the SPAR European Cross Country Championships

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  • Lahti dominates in Mol on the road to the SPAR European Cross Country Championships

Sarah Lahti from Sweden scored a commanding victory at the CrossCup Mol on Sunday (30), a World Athletics Cross Country Tour Silver meeting, on the road to the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Piemonte-La Mandria Park on 11 December.

Lahti won in near gun-to-tape fashion on a largely flat course but with some sapping sandy underfoot conditions, covering the 6.2km course in 21:38 to defeat Silke Jonkman from the Netherlands by a handsome margin of 20 seconds. 

Veteran Belgian marathon runner Mieke Gorissen, 39, came through for third in 22:05 while the 19-year-old Kenyan Maurine Cherotich, the sole non-European in the line-up, paid the price for following Lahti’s early pace and faded to fourth in 22:18.

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I came down with the ambition to win, so I'm very happy with this win. In the first lap I wanted to see how strong the Kenyan athlete was. If I felt her pace was too fast, I would have fought for second place. But after one lap I saw her slump and I was getting closer. I knew I was the stronger of the two when she didn't pick up on my pace.

“I must honestly say that I did not remember that there was so much sand in Mol. The course was a lot tougher than I could remember. But I had strong legs, so that helped. In the coming months I will focus fully on the European Cross Country Championships,” said Lahti.

Surprisingly, Lahti has never competed at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships as a senior. Her last appearance at the championships dates back to 2015 when she finished sixth in the U23 race.

Behind runaway winner Joel Ayeko from Uganda who triumphed in the senior men’s 9.2km in 28:37, the marathon-bound Michael Somers ran in isolation for most of the race but was rewarded with an auspicious runner-up finish in 29:00.

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“I'm in the process of preparing for my first marathon but I proved that marathon training can help you run at a high pace. I only miss that extra gear at the end, which could put me at a disadvantage in Roeselare. 

But I will certainly not let myself be known and hope that with a constantly high pace I can still qualify for the European Championships," said Somers, who finished fifth at last year’s SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Fingal-Dublin.

Luxembourg’s Ruben Querinjean, who won bronze in the U23 race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships last year and is still eligible for the next two editions of the U23 race, was third in 29:18.

Full results here

Photos from CrossCup

Yaremchuk improves to 2:25:36 in Frankfurt

In rising temperatures, Italy’s Sofiia Yaremchuk still set a lifetime best of 2:25:36 to finish fourth in the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday (30).

Yaremchuk ran a well-measured pace in challenging conditions and moved from 12th at the halfway point up to fourth with consistent splits of 72:21/73:15.

"I’m very happy to have achieved a result like this but after the 25th kilometre it was really hot and therefore I didn't go below 2:25. I was doing great up to the 35th kilometre with great sensations - even travelling at 3:23-3:24 per kilometre pace, and I was interested in the time more than the position. 

"This race made me understand what the marathon is after the 37th kilometre when there is the risk of not managing your body. And that cannot be 100% programmed, anything can happen, even running with more than twenty degrees," said Yaremchuk as quoted by FIDAL.


In the men’s race, Germany’s Hendrik Pfeiffer was the leading European finisher in seventh in 2:11:28. "I'm mega happy. It was a great result and rounds off a great year for me," said Pfeiffer who also helped Germany to a silver medal in the team race at the European Athletics Championships in Munich. 

At the Marseille-Cassis 20K, former European U20 and U23 cross country champion Hassan Chahdi from France took victory on home soil in 60:43 by a significant margin from Ethiopia's Teresa Nyakora (61:29) and Felix Bour (61:42).

Multiple European U20 and U23 medallist Elzan Bibic from Serbia won the Novi Pazar Half Marathon on his debut in 63:58.

European marathon silver medallist Matea Parlov Kostra won the Croatian 10km title in Zapresic on Saturday (29) in 32:45. 

At the Romanian Cross Country Championships in Botosani on Saturday, European 3000m steeplechase finalist Claudia Prisecaru won the senior women's 8km in 26:43 and Maxim Railenu won the senior men's 10km in 29:12.

At the Ukrainian Cross Country Championships in Ozhgorod on Sunday, Dmytro Siruk and Maryna Nemchenko won the senior 10km and 8km titles respectively. 

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