European champion Mo Farah faded on the final circuit of Sunday's Zornotza Internacional in Spain to finish sixth.
Farah is a also European 5,000m silver medallist
The Teddington-based runner kept pace with the leaders until the bell sounded for the last lap of the 10,700m race.
Farah's Kenyan training partner Micah Kogo just held off the challenge of Tariku Bekele to win by two strides.
Vivian Cheruyot broke clear in the final 600m to win the women's race over 6700m, with Briton Hayley Yelling, nursing a hamstring injury, in eighth.
Farah, the European cross country champion, said: "That was a lot harder than my win at the Europeans.
This race has increased my intention to gain more strength before the Worlds
"This race was over almost 11 kilometres and it was testing. I was well beaten by some very good and tough African runners."
Farah has a busy schedule of races ahead of him, including a tilt at the 3,000m European Indoor Championships in March, but he insists his main goal is the World Cross Country Championships later that month.
The 23-year-old was the first Briton home in 40th place last year but aims to do better after stepping up his cross-country training.
"I am making the World Cross Country Championships my priority," said Farah.
"This race has increased my intention to gain more strength before the Worlds .
"If I am to perform well during the summer my preparations need to be based on gaining more strength in the next couple of months."