They were less than a second off the WR at Pre. They'll also face Olympic silver medalist Sofia Assefa, 2015 Diamond Race winner Virginia Nyambura and African champion Hiwot Ayalew.
He defeated Geoffrey Kamworor who fell off pace and ended up a DNF. For the women, little-known Violah Jepchumba won over a field that included World steeple champ Hyvin Kiyeng and World Marathon silver medalist Helaha Kiprop.
*Imane Merga And Hiwot Ayalew Win San Sebastian XC Meet
Ayalew is the brother of Ethiopian steepler Hiwot Ayalew.
Mekonen Gebremedhin (1500) and Tsebelu Zewude (10,000) get wins for Ethiopia. Sofia Assefa and Hiwot Ayalew also went 1-2 for Ethiopia in the steeple. *Full Results
Men's field includes Imane Merga, Ibrahim Jeilan, Muktar Edris and Tariku Bekele. Women's field has Gelete Burka, Belaynesh Oljira, Hiwot Ayalew, Mamitu Daska, Buze Diriba and Kenya's half-marathon WR holder Florence Kiplagat.
Tola won over an extremely deep field that included former world XC champ Imane Merga, track studs Hagos Gebrehiwet and Yenew Almirew, world marathon bronze medalist Tadesse Tola and Ethiopian half-marathon record holder Atsedu Tsegaye. Yalew beat world cross-country silver medallist Hiwot Ayalew, world 10,000m bronze medallist Belaynesh Oljira, and former world indoor 1500m champion Gelete Burka.
World XC bronze medalist Teklemariam Medhin was 4th while World XC champ Japhet Korir was never a factor and finished a disappointing 18th, 1:26 behind Merga. World XC bronze medalist Belaynesh Oljira won the women's race over Mercy Cherono with Hiwot Ayalew well back in 4th.
Also 2014 5000 world leader Muktar Edris (12:54.83), 2011 world 10,000m champ Ibrahim Jeilan, Albert Rop and Emmanuel Bett. Women's race has World XC medalist Hiwot Ayalew and Belaynesh Oljira and World 5000 silver medalist Mercy Cherono.
Stacked distance squads including Nijel Amos, Mohammed Aman, Caleb Ndiku, Isiah Koech, Eunice Sum, Hellen Obiri, Genzebe Dibaba, Hiwot Ayalew.
Eunice Sum led a 1-3 Kenyan sweep of the 800 winning in 1:59.45 over Janeth Jepkosgei. Ethiopia went 1-2 in the steeple as Hiwot Ayalew set a championships record of 9:29.54 ahead of Sofia Assefa. Kenya's Julius Yego defended his javelin title and Murielle Ahoure won the 200 in 22.36.
Assefa: “I know her, but when I last saw her, she wasn’t this strong, so I thought she was pacing. ... [Coburn] was gone. I wasn’t paying attention to her. I didn’t see her at all. Believe it or not, after I finished, I was looking for someone to hand me the [winner’s] bouquet.”
He cleared 2.39 to beat Russia's Ivan Ukhov (2.33). In distance action, Dawit Seyaum PRd by almost 10-seconds and set an Ethiopian junior record to win the 1500 in 3:59.53, Mohammed Aman beat Abubaker Kaki by .03 to win in 1:45.58 as Erik Sowinski was 5th (1:46.95), and Albert Rop won the 5K in 13:14. Morocco's Sadik Mikhou won the 1500 in 3:34.36 beating a field that included Aman Wote; Hiwot Ayalew took the steeple (9:24). Other event results included Kim Collins in the 100 (10.13) and Lolo Jones in the 100H (12.74) over Kristi Castlin (2nd) and Kellie Wells (6th).
Gesabwa ran 31:43 to beat Ayalew by 4-seconds.
Other big names include Yenew Alamirew, Dejen Gebremeskel, Hagos Gebrhiwet in the 3000, Mo Aman in the 800, Mekonnen Gebremedhin in the 1500 and Hiwot Ayalew in the 3000.
She'll face Hiwot Ayalew who is undefeated in 2014, having cleaned up on the Euro XC circuit. Other distance highlights include Mohammed Aman in the 800, Hagos Gebrhiwet, Dejen Gebremeskel, Yenew Alamirew and Augustine Choge in the 3000 and Mekonnen Gebremehdin, Silas Kiplagat, Nixon Chelseba and Bethwell Birgen in the 1500m.
Morocco’s Mohamed Moustaoui won the men's race.
The race also serves as the European Club XC Championships and will see Spain's 2013 Euro XC champ Alemayehu Bezabeh take on Italy's 2012 champ Andrea Lalli.
Ayalew has now won her last 5 races in a row. Here she blasted away from World 5000 silver medalist Mercy Cherono in the last 800m as Cherono faded to 3rd. World 10,000 bronze medalist Tanui led from the gun and held off Uganda's Timothy Toroitich by 2-seconds as Emmanuel Bett was 3rd and Olympic bronze medalist steepler Abel Mutai back in 7th.
Toroitich faces Kenya's Emmanuel Bett, 2011 World XC silver medalist Paul Tanui and 2012 Olympic steeple bronze medallist Abel Mutai. Ayalew will be up against World 5000 silver medalist Mercy Cherono and World XC junior bronze medalist Alemitu Haroye.
Linet Masai and World 5000 silver medallist Mercy Cherono were third and fourth. Ugandan Timothy Toroitich won the men's race over Kenyan studs Conseslus Kipruto and Emmanuel Bett.