The picturesque but challenging course in the ATF Golf Meadows in Dera Bassi near here, with 2km grassy loops, was designed with undulations and included some slushy sections as well.
The 25-year-old Parasappa Hajilol, who hails from Bijapur and trained in Dharwad, surprised not only the more seasoned Vikram Bangriya (Madhya Pradesh) and Maharashtra steeplechaser Adesh Yadav but also a host of experienced runners like Abhishek Pal (Railways) and AB Belliappa, Darshan Singh, Hari Singh and defending champion Anish Thapa Magar (Services).
Parasappa Hajilol''s time of 31 minutes and 13.21 seconds was less than a minute slower than Anish Thapa Magar''s 30:31.00s in the previous edition in Warangal in January last year.
Then Sonika, a 21-year-old from Rohtak, and Maharashtra runners Komal Jagdale and Nikita Raut stunned defending champion Kavita Yadav and last year''s runner-up Varsha Devi (Railways) into fourth and fifth places respectively.
Despite losing its hold over the individual prizes, defending champion Services held back Railways'' challenge to retain its grip on the men''s team title, with each of its top four runners finishing in the top 10.
The women''s team event saw a remarkable upset with Haryana dislodging Railways from the top spot. PTI SSC SSC AT