The defending champion Jebitok did most of the pacing duties but Daniel travelled right on her shoulder with ease
Edinah Jebitok was unable to defend her title at the Cross International Juan Muguerza in Elgoibar, Spain as she finished second to Eritrea’s Rahel Daniel on Sunday 8 January 2023.
On a cloudy day but one without rain by the time of the events, the 7.6km women’s race kicked off at a pedestrian pace, the opening 400m on the track being covered in 1:31. After the first small lap, six women remained in the lead group, Daniel joined by the Kenyan duo of Edinah Jebitok and Margaret Kipkemboi, Ethiopia's Mahlet Mulugeta, Bahrain's Winfred Yavi and Burundian Francine Niyonsaba, who was the first casualty of the front pack along with Mulugeta as they began to lose ground 11 minutes into the race.
The defending champion Jebitok did most of the pacing duties but Daniel travelled right on her shoulder with ease, despite having contested and won the Campaccio cross country event in San Giorgio su Legnano two days earlier. Yavi and Kipkemboi completed the leading quartet at midway, but shortly afterwards Jebitok's relentless rhythm proved too fast for them and the race became a thrilling encounter between Jebitok and Daniel.
By the bell the duo at the helm had a three-second advantage on Yavi, herself nine seconds clear of Kipkemboi with Niyonsaba a distant fifth, 25 seconds in arrears. The key move came with 600m remaining, when Daniel – who finished fifth at the Olympics over 10,000m – broke away easily from Jebitok to take her second win in the World Athletics Cross Country Tour in just two days.
The 21-year-old Eritrean clocked 25:43, finishing eight seconds ahead of Jebitok, while a lonesome Yavi claimed third place, 15 seconds in arrears.