Bekele Makes it 30 Cross Country Wins in a Row

By Jörg Wenig

Kenenisa Bekele has stretched his unbeaten run in cross country to 30 races. On Sunday in Seville, Spain, the Ethiopian won this event for the third time, beating his younger brother Tariku, who celebrated his 20th birthday on race day, by two seconds. The Olympic 10,000m champion and world record holder clocked 31:05 for the 10.8-K course. One of the few Kenyans who have beaten Bekele in a 5,000m track race had no chance in Seville: Abraham Chebii came in third, 25 seconds behind the winner.

The high-class international cross country race in Seville saw the same winners as the event in Edinburgh a week earlier. While Bekele took the men’s race, Gelete Burka won the women’s event. The Ethiopian clocked 21:14 for the 6.6-K course. Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya) was second in 21:16, and Wude Ayalew Yimer (Ethiopia/21:18) took third.

Meanwhile, in Kenya Catherina Ndereba won the Kenyan Prison’s Cross Country Championships. (A number of Kenyan top runners are employed by the state’s prisons.) In the 8K race in Ruiru, Ndereba clocked 27:36. The former world marathon record holder, who has a personal best of 2:18:47 and is the second fastest ever behind Paula Radcliffe, said that she has not yet decided which spring marathon she might run. The winner of the 12K men’s race in Ruiru was Jonathan Komen with 36:02.4.