The Cardiff Cross Challenge, a prestigious World Athletics Cross Country Tour Gold event, unfolded in a spectacular display of athleticism on Saturday, with Megan Keith and Keneth Kiprop claiming victory in the senior women’s and men’s races, respectively.
Megan Keith Dominates Senior Women’s Race
European U23 5000m champion Megan Keith showcased her prowess by securing a commanding win in the 6.4km senior women’s race.
Following an impressive fifth-place finish at the Cross Internacional de Atapuerca last month, the 21-year-old Scottish athlete triumphed over a strong international field, finishing with a remarkable 17-second lead.
Clocking an impressive 20:35 on the challenging Llandaff Fields course, Keith expressed her joy after the race to World Athletics, saying, “That was great fun. I’ve run here before, and every year, I love this course. Running really hard here is always a rewarding experience.”
Likina Amebaw of Ethiopia, a contender with previous Cross Country Tour Gold victories, secured the runner-up position with a time of 20:52, while Asmarech Anley, also from Ethiopia, claimed third place.
Reflecting on her performance, Keith mentioned her love for Cardiff and her anticipation for the European Cross Country Championships in Brussels next month, stating to World Athletics, “I love Cardiff as a box to check on my way to Liverpool [British trial race].”
Keneth Kiprop’s Thrilling Victory in Senior Men’s Race
In the fiercely contested senior men’s race, 18-year-old Keneth Kiprop from Uganda emerged victorious after a thrilling battle in the 9.6km contest.
Leading for the majority of the race, Kiprop faced a strong challenge from Kenya’s Vincent Mutai in the closing stages.
Responding with a burst of speed, Kiprop crossed the finish line in 28:32, securing a three-second advantage over Mutai.
Expressing his joy after the race, Kiprop said to World Athletics, “I enjoyed winning this race in Cardiff because it was my first time to run in Europe in cross country. I thought that the sprint was going to win this race.”
Mutai, the victor of the Cardiff Half Marathon in October, settled for the second position, while Ethiopia’s Abele Bekele Alemu claimed the third spot.
Impressive U20 Performances and Mile Races
The Cardiff Cross Challenge also featured outstanding performances in the U20 races, with Innes Fitzgerald and Sam Hodgson claiming victories for the women and men, respectively.
Additionally, the elite women’s and men’s mile races witnessed triumphs for Hannah Irwin and Tom Dodd, adding an exciting dimension to this year’s event.
The impressive array of talent showcased at the Cardiff Cross Challenge sets the stage for the upcoming European Cross Country Championships in Brussels, underscoring the resilience and determination of these exceptional athletes.
The event marked a significant milestone in the World Athletics Cross Country Tour and highlighted the continued growth and competitiveness of cross-country running on the global stage.