Sifan Hassan and Richard Ringer stole the show as they triumphed at the 57th Warandeloop in Tilburg on Sunday.
Hassan made it three in a row at the event as she beat Dutch teammate Maureen Koster, while Germany’s Ringer beat the defending champion Khalid Choukoud in this European Athletics Cross Country Permit Meeting.
Their victories came three weeks away from the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Hyères and once more showed their versatility on different surfaces.
Hassan, the European 1500m champion, was outstanding as she made her mark early, breaking away in superb fashion to smash the course record in 27:07 from Koster, who was half a minute back in second (27:37) and Belgium’s Louise Carton in third (27:43).
The manner of Hassan’s victory will set her up well for Hyères should she decide to compete, while Ringer won by 17 seconds in 30:07 from Dutchman Choukoud and Belgium’s Isaac Kimeli.
This is one of Ringer’s biggest cross country victories, a fine result for an athlete who was one of Germany’s heroes when he won the 3000m at the 2014 European Athletics Team Championships in Braunschweig.
Carton and Kimeli, both 21, have a great deal in common; having both won silver in the 5000m at this summer’s European Athletics U23 Championships in Tallinn and should make an impression in their age-group races in Hyères.
Bezabeh impresses in Soria
Soria in Spain was the setting for the 22nd Cross Internacional de Soria, another European Athletics Cross Country Permit Meeting on Sunday, and Alemayehu Bezabeh put down a good marker for Hyères.
Bezabeh, a double SPAR European Cross Country champion, was third in 29:53 over 10km as Uganda’s Timothy Toroitich successfully defended his title in 29:42 - 16 seconds quicker than 12 months ago - as he became the first athlete to win this title back-to-back with Eritrea’s Goitom Kifle second in 29:48.
On the women's side, Spanish pair Diana Martin (28:26) and Iris Fuentes Pila (28:30) finished second and third respectively as Kenya’s Linet Masai won the women’s race over 8km in 28:08 and it sets their team up well for Hyères.