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The Sky runners move on to Zegama

by Editor
Thursday 17th May 2012

Race preview: Ian Corless from Talk Ultra takes a look ahead at the Zegama – Spain, May 20, 2012

Zegama offers a race over the classic marathon distance and has an elevation gain of 2736m and a total ascent and decent of 5472m. It takes place on the Aratz Massif and the Sierra del Aizikorri and covers the four largest peaks in Euskadi.

Zegama is renowned as one of the most popular events on the Skyrunner World Series calendar. As per usual the event attracts some of the best runners worldwide. I have just spent the last four days with Max King from the USA and Marco de Gasperi from Italy. Both champions.

It would appear that Marco is carrying an injury and therefore this leaves the door open for Max King who, on what I have seen this week, is in a perfect position to take the rewards that Zegama will offer. Chatting with him he says that 'I see the main competition to be Tom Owens and of course Kilian Jornet but I am not sure who else is racing'. He goes on to say 'you gotta treat the course like a 50k and a super hard 50k at that.'

Kilian placed third at Transvulcania in his first race back after a long ski season. He collapsed on the finish line with exhaustion. Normally you would exclude anyone who finished such a long race in this condition to then race a super tough race just a week later. But this is Kilian. His recovery is superb and his talent is without question.

Many of the runners that took part in the Skyrunning ultra 'Transvulcania La Palma' are also heading out to the Basque Country. It would be fair to say that all of them are lacking fresh legs... Certainly Dakota Jones and Anna Frost (if she races) will not be up at the front. They plan to soak up the atmosphere! My potential tip from the American contingent would be Mike Wolfe or should I say 'Wolfeman' as he is affectionately known. He didn't have the race he wanted at Transvulcania and this may motivate him. He said in La Palma 'yeah, I had an off day at Transvulcania but I hope to race well at Zegama, it may just be too short for me.'

Another American hopeful is Nick Clarke. Nick is without doubt a lover of vertical and as he didn't race in La Palma he will be fresh for 5000+ meters of ascent and decent. He is fiercely competitive and his two back to back races in 2011 at Western States and Hardrock show how strong he is, placing third in both races just two weeks apart.

Anna Frost, winner at Transvulcania is still undecided if she will take part. She prepared meticulously for her race in La Palma, smashed the course record by 1hr 45m and an effort like that requires some recovering from. Certainly if she takes part it will not be with the object of winning the race. However, Nikki Kimball who placed third at the same race is super ready to race and she said, and I quote 'I'm gonna kick ass. I'm gonna race as hard as I can'. Nikki without doubt can't be ruled out. She's a great competitor and she seems to have a new lease of life at the moment.

It's going to be a great race and with this being so close to the Transvulcania La Palma it helps make sure that the profile of our sport is kept high. The success and the reputation of Zegama are mainly down to three factors; the gruelling course, the stunning natural beauty and the massive participation of both runners and spectators.

On a final note we have had word this week that the Zegama course has had one metre of snow on it. This may very well prove decisive on Saturday.

Less cloud. MORE SKY

Race website: www.zegama-aizkorri.net



  • SPAIN: Maratòn Alpina Zegama-Aizkorri, Basque Country - May 20
  • ITALY: Giir Di Mont Skymarathon®, Premana, Lecco - July 29
  • SWITZERLAND: Course De Sierre-Zinal, Zinal, Valais - August 12
  • USA: Pikes Peak Marathon, Colorado - August 19
  • MALAYSIA: Mount Kinabalu Climbathon, Sabah, Borneo -October 14

Skyrunner® World Series champion titles are awarded to competitors with the highest points based on the sum of the three best main race results plus any two compulsory* races in the VerticalKilometer®, SkyRace® or Ultra SkyMarathon® Series.


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