|Zegama – Spain takes the day|
Kilian Jornet proves his prowess and takes Zegama by storm with more than a 4 minute lead ahead of Luis Hernando while Oihna Kortazar win’s the women’s category.
Extremely strong competition, relentless rain and snow at the summit meant a tougher race than anticipated for many Zegama first-timers.
In the men’s race, reigning Skyrunner® World Series champion Luis Hernando led the field to the summit followed closely by Kilian Jornet, who, despite the difficult conditions, comfortably romped to the finish in 3h56’08”, slicing 22” off last year’s winning time , but still 1’50” short of Rob Jebb’s record set in 2005.
Britain’s Tom Owens, last year a close second to Jornet, was third today.
Standing skyrunning champion and last year’s winner, Kortazar, led from the start, closely followed by Britain’s Lauren Jeska, alternating the lead. At 32 km Kortazar cruised past Jeska to finish in 4h52’30”. Sweden’s Emilie Forsberg was in the lead pack for the whole race, until Spaniard Nuria Picas who had been pacing the leaders, overtook in the final ten kilometres, accelerating to a brilliant second position in 5h’1.28”.
One of the favourites, American Max King, 2011 World Mountain Running Champion, held third position to the summit, but suffered the 42 km distance to finish 16th.
Many of the top finishers were new to skyrunning. In competing with the world’s élite runners, they show great promise for the rest of the season. These include: Frenchman, Michel Lannes, 4th, Sweden’s Emiie Forsberg, and Britain’s Lauren Jeska.
A number of the runners competed only a week ago in the first of the World Series Ultra races, the mammoth (83km) Transvulcania Ultra Marathon on La Palma and, with the exception of an incredible Jornet who was third there, suffered the all-too short recovery time.
Americans who stayed over after Transvulcania to get a taste of a classic SkyMarathon® included Dakota Jones, the 21 year-old winner who demonstrated true sportsman’s spirit by participating in Zegama, closing in 40th position; Mike Wolfe was an excellent 14th, and Joe Grant, 44th. A great performance by Nikki Kimball in 8th position here, she was third at last week’s Transvulcania.
Other runners that participated in Transvulcania were Swiss ski-mountaineering champion Florent Troillet, 15th, Argentinian, Gustavo Reyes, 26th.
Spain showed their dominance in skyrunning yet again, with the two reigning skyrunning champions taking first and second places in both categories and the indomitable Kilian Jornet, first yet again.
Follow the next Skyrunner® World Series race – the Ziria Cross Country SkyRace®
in Greece on May 27.
Zegama-Aizkorri Maratòn results
Skyrunner® World Series provisional ranking:
Kilian Jornet (ESP) – Salomon Santiveri – 178 points
Mike Wolfe (USA) – The North Face – 102 points
Dakota Jones (USA) – Montrail – 100 points
Nuria Picas (ESP) – FEEC - 176 points
Nikki Kimbal (USA) – The North Face -140 points
Anna Frost (NZL) – Salomon – 100 points
Photo copyright © Jordi Saragossa