El Bakkali and Rocha take expected titles at Almond Blossom Cross Country in Albufeira.
Rocha regains title
The women’s 6.15km event was without drama as Salomé Rocha led from the early stages to run away with the win in 20:44, 35 seconds ahead of her nearest challenger.
“I felt good from the beginning,” said Rocha, who won here in 2016 and now has the same number of Almond Blossom wins as 1988 Olympic marathon champion Rosa Mota. “The course is really challenging, but the crowd yelling for me was really, really great.”
There was a close finish for second place as Andrea Deelstra of the Netherlands and Mónica Silva both crossed the line in 21:19, but the Dutch runner was given the runner-up spot.
António Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF
1 Soufianne El Bakkali (MAR) 28:14
2 Rui Pedro Silva (POR) 28:22
3 Tiago Costa (POR) 29:03
4 Pedro Pinheiro (POR) 29:09
5 Ricardo Ribas (POR) 29:19
6 Hermano Ferreira (POR) 29:26
1 Salomé Rocha (POR) 20:44
2 Andrea Deelstra (NED) 21:19
3 Mónica Silva (POR) 21:19
4 Maria Sdawik (POL) 21:32
5 Ana Dias (POR) 21:55
6 Catarina Guerreiro (POR) 23 :25