Report21 Jan 2024

Jebitok and Nimubona victorious in Hannut


Edinah Jebitok on her way to winning in Hannut (© AFP / Getty Images)

Edinah Jebitok notched up her third Gold-level victory in this season’s World Athletics Cross Country Tour while Yves Nimubona became the first Rwandan man to win at the Energyvision CrossCup Hannut on Sunday (21).

The two races played out in contrasting fashion, Jebitok taking the women’s title by a 39-second margin, and Nimubona holding off a strong challenge from Eritrea’s Merhawi Mebrahtu to win the men’s race by one second.

In freezing conditions with snow covering the 9km course, Jebitok didn’t hang around. Fellow Kenyans Pamela Kosgei and Faith Chepkoech did their best to stay with her in the first kilometre, but Jebitok soon made a break from her opponents and set off on a solo run.

With Jebitok pushing the pace out in front, the rest of the field soon became strung out behind her. Kosgei held on to second place throughout, but Britain’s Megan Keith reeled in Chepkoech after 20 minutes to move into third place.

Jebitok was away and clear, though, and crossed the line in 31:01. Kosgei was a comfortable runner-up in 31:40, eight seconds clear of Keith. Chepkoech placed fourth in 32:34.

In the men’s race, a five-man pack emerged on the first lap comprising Nimubona, Mebrahtu, Kibet Kandie, Guillaume Grimard and Rogers Kibet.

Eventual winner Yves Nimubona leads the pack in Hannut

Eventual winner Yves Nimubona leads the pack in Hannut (© AFP / Getty Images)

At the half-way point, Nimubona, Mebrahtu and Kandie had broken away to form a lead trio. Further back, Urugray’s Santiago Catroffe had moved past Grimard into fourth place.

With 22 minutes on the clock, Mebrahtu moved into lead. Kandie had dropped back by this point, but Nimubona stayed on Mebrahtu’s shoulder.

At the bell, Kandie was no longer in contention for victory but still had a comfortable lead over the rest of the field. With less than two minutes of running remaining, Nimubona regained the lead. Mebrahtu stayed close behind, but Nimubona kicked once the finish line was in sight and won in 28:29.

Mebrahtu finished one second behind, while Kandie took third place in 28:42, just holding off a fast-finishing Catroffe by one second.

Leading results

Women (9km)
1 Edinah Jebitok (KEN) 31:01
2 Pamela Kosgei (KEN) 31:40
3 Megan Keith (GBR) 31:48
4 Faith Chepkoech (KEN) 32:34
5 Jana van Lent (BEL) 33:18
6 Lili Anna Vindics-Toth (HUN) 33:46

Men (9km)
1 Yves Nimubona (RWA) 28:29
2 Merhawi Mebrahtu (ERI) 28:30
3 Kibet Kandie (KEN) 28:42
4 Santiago Catroffe (URU) 28:43
5 Guillaume Grimard (BEL) 28:56
6 Isaac Kimeli (BEL) 29:14

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