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A pair of New Year’s Eve races took place in Spain on Thursday and as usual, East Africans dominated.

5km race

At the Cursa dels Nassos 5km in Barcelona, 50 elite and sub-elite men and women toed-the-line.

Winning the men’s 5km was French athlete Jimmy Gressier in the time of 13:39. Santiago Catrofe of Uraguay finished second in the time of 13:23, while Yann Schurb clocked a 13:45 and third position.

Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba entered the race looking to better Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan’s world record of 14:44 from Monaco last year.

She didn’t accomplish her primary goal but did win. The top three women were Dibaba as she clocked exactly 15:00 over Anna Dibaba who crossed the line in 16:02. Spanish middle-distance runner Esther Guerrero Puigdevallin followed in the time of 16:03.

Gressier is the national champion over 5000m. The 23-year-old won both the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2019 U23 World Championships gold medals in Gävle, Sweden. His personal best is 13:15:77, which he set in the Wanda Diamond League in Monaco this year. In 2020, Gressier set five new personal bests, four outdoors, one indoors.

10km race

In the 10km race Morhad Amdouni won in the time of 27:42, a new personal best for the 32-year-old French athlete. Finishing second was 25-year-old Madrid native Carlos Mayo Nieto in the time of 28:03, also a new personal best time for the 2017 U23 World Champion. Gressier also raced the 10km, this time finishing third in 28:13.

“It was a nice way to finish off the year. There weren’t many races because of the pandemic, so it was nice to win the 5km and finish well in the 10km,” said Gressier.

Meanwhile, Kenyan Hellen Obiri capped off the year by winning the 10km race. She finished in the time of 30:53.

The 5000-metre World and 2019 Doha World Cross Country champion won even after experiencing a fall in the final kilometre of the race.

Finishing second was Moroccan Majida Maayouf in 33:19 while hometown athlete Marta Galimany clocked a 33:52 and third position.

SHOESTRINGS: Meanwhile, over in Madrid, Kenyan Daniel Simiu took the San Silvestre 10km in the time of 27:41.

Finishing second was Faniel Eyob of Italy with his 28:08. Olympic 5,000m silver medallist, Paul Chelimo from the US finished third in the time of 28:14.

Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yahualaw won the women’s race in 31:17. She defeated world marathon champion Ruth Chepngétich from Kenya in the time of 31:50.