European 1500m and 5000m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen finished a battling 12th in the U20 race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark on Saturday (30).
Competing over a distance of 7.728km on the most testing of cross country courses, Ingebrigtsen looked on course for a top eight finish but the 18-year-old, who was making his debut at the championships, struggled on the final ascent up the Moesgaard Museum and staggered across the finish-line in 12th.
Ethiopia took a one-two individual courtesy of Milkesa Mengesha (23:52) and Tadesse Worku (23:54) with Ingebrigtsen covering the course in 24:39 to finish within a minute of the victor. His exertions were such that he spent one hour in the medical tent before he was discharged.
Despite a tough baptism over a distance slightly beyond his comfort zone, Ingebrigtsen still took away plenty from today's race.
There were also top-20 finishes for European athletes in both senior races. Home favourite Anna Emilie Moller, the reigning European U23 cross country champion, ran a measured race to finish 15th in the senior women’s 10.24km in 37:51 while there was an excellent return to international competition from Ireland’s Fionnuala McCormack.
Competing less than six months after giving birth to her daughter Isla, the former two-time SPAR European cross country champion was 18th in 37:59. Her next test comes in two weeks’ time when she contests the Boston Marathon.
The Brits ran well as a collective with Kate Avery leading the British team to a fourth-place finish after finishing 30th individually. Their other scoring counters - Mhairi McLennan, Jenny Nesbitt and Jess Piasecki - were 32nd, 34th and 36th respectively.
In the senior men’s race, Sweden’s Robel Fsiha transferred his excellent recent form on the roads (he clocked 61:18 for the half marathon two weeks ago) to the cross country with a 17th-place finish in 33:06. His performance in Aarhus was a marked improvement on his showing at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Tilburg last December when he finished 41st.
Spanish champion Ouassim Oumaiz performed well on his debut in a senior championships, finishing 20th individually on his 20th birthday in 33:10. Oumaiz was the silver medallist behind Ingebrigtsen in the U20 race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships.
Oumaiz also led Spain to a seventh-place finish in the team race with European 3000m steeplechase silver medallist Fernando Carro also finishing inside the top-50 individually in 41st.
The Spaniards also finished sixth in the mixed relay in 27:47 which was won by Ethiopia in 25:49.