Louise Carton maintained her brilliant consistency in the Joker+CrossCup on Sunday, even though she could not make it her third individual win of the series.
As the competition resumed in Hannut with the GP de la Province de Liège, this European Athletics Cross Country Permit Race over 5.2km once more brought out the tenacity of a Belgian who is having a superb spell.
Carton led before being pegged back by Ethiopia’s Alemu Birtukan who had just too much in the end.
Birtukan won in 18:53 from Carton (18:59) with her fellow Belgian Veerle Dejaeghere in third (19:05).
After impressive victories in Mol and Roeselare in November and fourth in Brussels in December, Carton now has 100 points in the CrossCup which began with her leading her club Meetjesland 1 to success in the relays in October. Races in Rotselaar in February and Dour and Wachtebeke in March complete the series.
Carton won the under-23 gold medal at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Hyères last month and will surely look back at the last few months as the best winter of her career.
In the men’s race over 8.8km, Belgium’s Jeroen D’Hoedt finished fourth after arriving home only 24 hours earlier from a three-week training stint in South Africa.
He ran 29:08 as Ethiopian Dame Tasame, who is based in Belgium, took victory in a thrilling finish in 28:27 from Kenya’s David Bett (28:32) and fellow Ethiopian Shumi Teshome (28:32).
Rovereto saw the 39th staging of the Cross Internazionale della Vallagarina and there was much for the home crowd to cheer with a fine run from Silvia La Barbera as she proved age is not always the key when it comes to stamina and speed.
In the women’s senior 6km race, Barbera, 31, finished second in 22:00 as Ethiopia’s Alemitu Hawi, 19, the world junior 5000m silver medallist, won in 21:36 with Uganda’s Mercyline Chelangat, who is 18, third (22:02) ahead of Italy’s Sara Dossena in fourth (22:19).
Abdoullah Bamoussa was the leading Italian finisher in seventh in the men’s senior 10km event (27:27) as Kenya’s Rodgers Maiyo won in 26:40 from team-mate and world junior cross country silver medallist Geoffrey Korir (26:42) and Ugandans Victor Kiplangat (26:54) and Jacob Kiplimo (26:54).