Leading footwear brand inov-8, partnering the Skyrunner® World Series, started off the season with Spain’s legendary Zegama-Aizkorri, one of the most competitive races on the circuit, the challenge comes not only from the world-class field, but the often extremely challenging 42km course.
Looking to make an impact with a multi-national 9-man team, the race proved to be a confirmation of the UK brand’s determination and commitment to develop shoes and apparel to function on the most demanding terrain.
Local talent, Jokin Lizeaga and Aritz Egea, once again had strong performances on this classic course. Jokin ran the race of his life pacing 8th overall and running 49-seconds under the tough 4-hour mark. This just goes to show that his 12th place at the 2013 Matterhorn Ultraks was no coincidence and confirms him as a dominant force in the inov-8 Skyrunning team.
Aritz Egea understands the terrain, the weather and the mountain of his Basque Country home like few others. In the early stages of the race he was in 3rd place chasing Kilian Jornet and Marco De Gasperi at the 20 km check point, Spiritu Sancti. Aritz later faded but placed an exellent 10th in one of the strongest ever Zegama fields. At the finish Aritz said, ‘I am happy, very happy. It was an incredible day.’
Norwegian Eirik Haugsnes had a first experience of Skyrunning in 2013 over the VK and Sky distances and embraced the opportunity to test himself on such a classic course against the best in the world. Pushing hard throughout the race, he placed 18th overall.
Heading up the inov-8 team after his strong and consistent performances in 2013, which earned him an overall 3rd position on the Sky Series, American Alex Nichols was hoping for a great 2014 Zegama. A recent victory and course record at Greenland Trail Race 50k confirmed that Alex had great form, however, on the day Alex produced a below par performance that he will be looking to rectify later in the year.
Classic UK fell runners Oli Johnson and Chris Steele excelled in the muddy ‘British’ conditions and found the whole process enlightening and exciting vowing that they would return and look to improve on the respective 26th and 27th places.
Completing the inov-8 line-up, Frenchman Pierre-Laurent Viguier placed 30th, Spaniard Pau Bortolo. 56th and Robbie Britton was just happy to finish explaining that after the Transvulcania Ultramarathon just two weeks before, his recent learning curve in the world of Skyrunning has been an extremely steep (and technical) one!
The inov-8 team will have a presence at all four races remaining in the 2014 Skyrunner® World Series: Dolomites SkyRace®, Course de Sierre-Zinal, Matterhorn Ultraks 46K and finally Limone Extreme.
2014 represents 11-years in business for iconic UK brand, inov-8 and without doubt we can expect to see the team, their shoes and apparel being tested over mountains and trails all over the world.
Inov-8 team Zegama results
Jokin Lizeaga 8th 3:59:11
Aritz Egea 10th 4:00:54
Eirik Haugsnes 18TH 4:10:35
Alex Nichols 21st 4:13:17
Chris Steele 26th 4:18:39
Oli Johnson 27th 4:18:40
Pierre-Laurent Viguier 30th 4:20:43
Pau Bortolo 56th 4:37:52
Robbie Britton 216th 5:32:08
2014 SWS Sky Ranking