|Zegama – seven times lucky for Kilian. Stevie Kremer women’s winner|
Today’s fast and furious Zegama-Azikorri race saw the long-standing men’s record tumble in the stacked field. On a cool and rainy day, the first four men were all under the long-standing course record: Kilian Jornet, 1st in 3h48’38”; Marco De Gasperi, 2nd in 3h50’38”; Luis Alberto Hernando 3rd in 3h50’57”; and Ionut Zinca, 4th in 3h53’14”.
For Kilian it was his 7th win at Zegama, finally breaking Rob Jebb’s 2005 record 2h54’18”. At the 20 km check point, the lead group was headed by Kilian Jornet, Marco De Gasperi and local runner Artiz Egea – Kilian 1’30” ahead of last year’s time. Romanian Ionut Zinca was in fourth. At this point, Hernado was only in 8th position but by 30k he had made up five places to 3rd which he was to hold to the finish.
The intense women’s race had Emelie Forsberg out front from the start. At 20 km, American Kasie Enman had taken the lead, with Stevie Kremer and Emelie separated by 1’ and 1’15” respectively. Italy’s Elisa Desco was fourth, 3’30” from the leader while Spaniard Maite Mayora, in 8th position here, just like Hernando, made up five places to finish in 3rd.
Stevie who placed 3rd her first SkyRace here last year, was victorious today, crossing the finish line 4h46’44”, still short of Emanuela Brizio’s 4h38’19 record set in 2009. Elisa Desco also made up time to finish 2nd in 4h50’21”, a great result after her win in the Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer® earlier this month. Maite Mayora’s time was 4h51’48”. Last year’s winner Emelie Forsberg, still not fully recovered from a hand injury procured in the Transvulcania Ultramarathon, crossed the line an excellent 4th.
Super-star Nuria Picas, after recent long-distance victories in Japan and Australia, was forced to drop out at 20k, unsurprisingly with tired legs. American Cameon Clayton also withdrew here with an injury.
One of the most popular races on the international skyrunning scene, the Zegama-Aizkorri in Spain’s Basque Country has been a permanent feature on the Skyrunner® World Series since 2004. The 42 km race, with a tough 5,472m ascent and descent, attracts a consistently deep field which no doubt accounts for today’s fast times, with the top five men pushing the pace hard. The popularity of the race is also thanks to the enormous enthusiasm and support of the local people who line the course in their thousands, applauding and cheering every single one of the participants along the way.
France will host next races: the World Series’ VK Face de Bellevarde and the 65 km Ice-Trail in Val d’Isère on July 11 and 13th, preceded by the Skyrunning World Championships in Chamonix, on June 27-29 where the world’s top runners will compete. The countdown starts now!
1. Kilian Jornet (Salomon) 3h48’38”
2. Marco De Gasperi (SCOTT Sports) 3h50’38”
3. Luis Alberto Hernando (adidas) 3h50’57”
4. Ionut Zinca (Valetudo Skyrunning Italia) 3h53’14”
5. Zaid Ait Malek (Buff) 3h55’06”
1. Stevie Kremer (Salomon) 4h46’44”
2. Elisa Desco (SCOTT Sports) 4h50’21”
3. Maite Mayora (La Sportiva) 4h51’48”
4. Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) 4h52’11”
5. Kasie Enman (Salomon) 4h53’35”