Almond Blossom Cross Country

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Almond Blossom Cross Country
Albufeira Passeio marginal.JPG
The race takes place in a touristic town in the Algarve
Date Early February
Location Albufeira, Portugal Portugal
Event type Cross country
Distance 12 km (7 mi) for men
8 km (5 mi) for women
Established 1977
Official site Almond Blossom Cross Country

The Almond Blossom Cross Country (Portuguese: Cross Internacional das Amendoeiras em Flor)[1] is an annual international cross country running competition which takes place in Albufeira, Portugal, in early March. It is one of the IAAF permit meetings which serve as qualifying events for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.[2] It is held in co-operation with the Associação de Atletismo do Algarve (Algarve Athletics Association).[3] The race gets its name from the white blossom which appears on the almond trees native to the Algarve region during the spring.[4]


The competition was first organised in 1977 through a joint partnership of the Federação Portuguesa de Atletismo (Portuguese Athletics Federation), the District of Faro and Turismo de Portugal, with the aim of promoting both sport and tourism in the region.[5] The race relocated to Vilamoura, another town nearby, in 1996 and the competition remained there until 2003. The 2004 edition was not held due to financial problems, causing the race's annual history to be interrupted for the first time. The Almond Blossom Cross returned to its original home in Albufeira in 2005 and has been held there annually ever since.[6]

The white flowers of an almond tree, after which the competition is named

The race takes place at the Açoteias Cross Country course; a looping track which is 2 km (1.2 mi) in length and comprises sections of both grass and sand.[7][8] The race distances have traditionally been 10 km (6 mi) for men and 6 km (4 mi) for women, but this was extended in the 2010 edition to 12 km (7 mi) and 8 km (5 mi).[9]

The Almond Blossom Cross Country competition is international in its nature, attracting a large number of foreign athletes each year, but it is also a significant draw for Portugal's top domestic runners.[10] Among the past winners in the men's race are Portuguese world medallists Fernando Mamede and Paulo Guerra, track world champion Charles Kamathi, and Serhiy Lebid – a multiple European champion. On the women's side, past winners include Olympic champions Fernanda Ribeiro and Gabriela Szabo, the 1996 World Cross Country champion Gete Wami, and world champion in the 10,000 m Berhane Adere. Only two Portuguese athletes have won at the World Cross Country Championships (Carlos Lopes and Albertina Dias) and both have been victorious in Albufeira: Lopes won the first ever Almond Blossom race in 1977 while Dias won the 1989 women's race.[9]

The Açoteias Cross Country course was also used to host the European Clubs Cross Country Cup in 2008, as it had done a number of times in the 1980s and 1990s.[8][11] During the Almond Blossom's time in Vilamoura, it served as the tester race for the 2000 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, which was held on the same course a month later.[12] The competition itself was selected in 2010 to host the Portuguese Cross Country Championships, in which Yousef El Kalai and Ana Dulce Félix took the honours in the men's and women's races, respectively.[13] The national competition returned to the race in 2012 and Manuel Damião was the men's Portuguese victor, while Félix again won the women's title.[9] A year later Damião became the first Portuguese man to win the Almond Blossom race itself since 1995 – the invited African contingent (including four-time winner Josphat Kiprono Menjo) did not arrive due to travel issues.[14] The 2014 race again hosted the European Clubs event and Morocco's Mohamed Moustaoui continued to break the Kenya dominance of the men's race.[15]

Past senior race winners[edit]

Rosa Mota – the winner of the first women's race in 1978
Charles Kamathi of Kenya was the 2000 men's champion
Portuguese Olympic champion Fernanda Ribeiro won in 2003

Key:   Portuguese championship race (12 km and 8 km races)
Distances:   8 km and 5 km races   4 km race 0 (10 km for men and 6 km for women where not stated)

Edition Year Men's winner Time (m:s) Women's winner Time (m:s)
1st 1977  Carlos Lopes (POR) ?
2nd 1978  Greg Meyer (USA) 29:44  Rosa Mota (POR) ?
3rd 1979  Frank Zimmermann (GER) 30:09  Penny Yule (GBR) 13:19
4th 1980  Fernando Mamede (POR) 28:44  Wendy Smith (GBR) 13:02
5th 1981  Fernando Mamede (POR) 31:04  Wendy Smith (GBR) ?
6th 1982  Christoph Herle (GER) 30:03  Aurora Cunha (POR) 13:20
7th 1983  Fernando Mamede (POR) ?  Aurora Cunha (POR) ?
8th 1984  Frank Zimmermann (GER) ?  Aurora Cunha (POR) ?
9th 1985  António Leitão (POR) ?  Rosa Mota (POR) ?
10th 1986  António Leitão (POR) ?  Ruth Partridge (GBR) ?
11th 1987  Vincent Rousseau (BEL) ?  Ria Van Landeghem (BEL) ?
12th 1988  José Regalo (POR) 30:02  Angela Tooby (GBR) 20:01
13th 1989  José Regalo (POR) 23:42  Albertina Dias (POR) 16:46
14th 1990  Dionísio Castro (POR) 29:39  Jeanne-Marie Pipoz (SUI) 20:06
15th 1991  Richard Chelimo (KEN) 30:05  Catherina McKiernan (IRL) 20:04
16th 1992  Fita Bayisa (ETH) 29:06  Luchia Yishak (ETH) 19:37
17th 1993  Ondoro Osoro (KEN) 29:00  Tegla Loroupe (KEN) 19:48
18th 1994  Ondoro Osoro (KEN) 29:10  Catherina McKiernan (IRL) 19:34
19th 1995  Paulo Guerra (POR) 29:21  Gabriela Szabo (ROM) 19:31
20th 1996  Emerson Iser Bem (BRA) 29:58  Gabriela Szabo (ROM) 19:45
21st 1997  Thomas Nyariki (KEN) 28:41  Elena Fidatov (ROM) 19:31
22nd 1998  Thomas Nyariki (KEN) 29:30  Julia Vaquero (ESP) 19:25
23rd 1999  Thomas Nyariki (KEN) 29:39  Zahra Ouaziz (MAR) 19:31
24th 2000  Charles Kamathi (KEN) 29:34  Gete Wami (ETH) 19:46
25th 2001  Patrick Ivuti (KEN) 20:34  Lydia Cheromei (KEN) 19:48
26th 2002  Thomas Nyariki (KEN) 29:48  Berhane Adere (ETH) 19:49
27th 2003  Patrick Ivuti (KEN) 29:33  Fernanda Ribeiro (POR) 20:12
2004 Not held Not held
28th 2005  Moses Mosop (KEN) 27:49  Nancy Kiprop (KEN) 19:35
29th 2006  Peter Kamais (KEN) 28:01  Jeļena Prokopčuka (LAT) 19:32
30th 2007  Serhiy Lebid (UKR) 29:15  Dorcus Inzikuru (UGA) 19:27
31st 2008  Josphat Menjo (KEN) 29:08  Mariya Konovalova (RUS) 19:03
32nd 2009  Josphat Menjo (KEN) 31:01  Jeļena Prokopčuka (LAT) 19:30
33rd 2010  Mark Bett (KEN) 35:22  Ana Dulce Félix (POR) 26:09
34th 2011  Josphat Menjo (KEN) 30:21  Anikó Kálovics (HUN) 19:38
35th 2012  Josphat Menjo (KEN) 35:40  Goretti Chepkoech (KEN) 26:05
36th 2013  Manuel Damião (POR) 29:19  Goretti Chepkoech (KEN) 19:16
37th 2014  Mohamed Moustaoui (MAR) 29:13  Hiwot Ayalew (ETH) 20:15
38th 2015  Roman Prodius (MDA) 24:18  Dominika Nowakowska (POL) 14:51
39th 2016  Nelson Cruz (CPV) 30:43  Carla Salomé Rocha (POR) 34:09
40th 2017  Yemaneberhan Crippa (ITA) 30:04  Irene Cheptai (KEN) 20:18
41st 2018  Soufiane El Bakkali (MAR) 28:13  Carla Salomé Rocha (POR) 20:44
42nd 2019  Jacob Kiplimo (UGA) 29:00  Fancy Cherono (KEN) 20:15



  1. ^ Cross Challenge back with a bang in Vilamoura Archived 2005-03-24 at the Wayback Machine. IAAF (5 February 1999). Retrieved on 10 March 2010.
  2. ^ IAAF Cross Country Permits Archived 2010-03-09 at the Wayback Machine. IAAF (2010). Retrieved on 12 February 2010.
  3. ^ Calendário Regional Archived 2012-08-01 at Associação de Atletismo do Algarve (2009). Retrieved on 10 March 2010.
  4. ^ ( 33rd Almond Blossom International Cross-Country Race) [Blacklisted link]. VisitAlgarve. Retrieved on 11 March 2010.
  5. ^ Cardoso, Carlos (16 March 2000). Vilamoura's dream comes true as Carla waits in the wings. IAAF. Retrieved on 10 March 2010.
  6. ^ Costa, Paulo (31 January 2005). Kenyans Moses and Kiprop win in Algarve. IAAF. Retrieved on 10 March 2010.
  7. ^ Welcome Message from the President Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine. 2008 ECCC Cup. Retrieved on 10 March 2010.
  8. ^ a b Albufeira plays host to European Champion Clubs Cup Cross Country[permanent dead link]. European Athletics (1 February 2008). Retrieved on 10 March 2010.
  9. ^ a b c Civai, Franco (9 March 2009). Amendoeiras em Flor (Almond Blossom) 10 km and 6 km. Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved on 10 March 2010.
  10. ^ Fernandes, António Manuel (5 March 2010). Focus on the locals as Portugal to select World XC squad at the Almond Blossom Cross Country. IAAF. Retrieved on 10 March 2010.
  11. ^ European Clubs Cross Country Cup. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 10 March 2010.
  12. ^ Wallace-Jones, Sean (6 February 2000). Wami and Kamathi repeat Seville victories on World Championship course Archived 2005-05-28 at the Wayback Machine. IAAF. Retrieved on 10 March 2010.
  13. ^ Fernandes, António Manuel (8 March 2010). Bett and Felix take Almond Blossom XC titles. IAAF. Retrieved on 10 March 2010.
  14. ^ Fernandes, António Manuel (2013-02-24). Damião surprises as Chepkoech defends in Albufeira. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-03-02.
  15. ^ Fernandes, António Manuel (2014-02-02). Moustaoui and Ayalew take the honours at Almond Blossom Cross Country. IAAF. Retrieved on 2014-02-23.

External links[edit]