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Image by Quim Farrero

Jornet and Kaspersen take the titles at Zegama

by Press Release
Monday 23rd May 2016
Tags  Zegama   |   Skyrunning   |   Kilian Jornet
 
 
All the elements were in place for the legendary Zegama-Aizkorri race – a stacked field, cold, rain and mud. The heat came from the competition, especially in the men’s field, but Kilian took the day as forecast for the eighth time in 3h50’03”, just under his own course record.

zegama start

In the women’s field it was victory for rising star, Norwegian Yngvild Kaspersen, only 21 years old, she raced to victory in the second half of the race to close in 4h50’58”.
 
The severe conditions took their toll with some of the race favourites dropping out.
 
Local runner Aritz Egea streaked ahead to lead the men’s race for the first 10 km, followed by Kilian and Marc Lauenstein who took over the lead. At the Sancti Spiritu aid station 19 km into the race, the rain was heavy. Aritz retired due to the cold and behind the leaders a battle ensued between Luis Alberto Hernando, third, Manuel Merillas and last year’s winner, Tadei Pivk. Kilian took the lead at the 21 km Aizkorri summit which he held to the finish. Among the victims, Rémi Bonnet.
 
“What I like best is the mud and cold and this is the essence of Zegama. Despite the bad weather lots of people come to cheer. There’s an amazing atmosphere that gives you goose bumps,” Kilian said. “It was a very tough race. Up in the cold on Aizkorri we suffered but it’s really why we love this sport. I always say Zegama is Zegama. It’s a race close to my heart that I’ve been competing in since 2008.”
 
Marc Lauenstein, who ran a solid race up front, is a Swiss dentist with a family and little time to train. He proved his strength here at Zegama. “I almost got hypothermia, but this is racing. We were really tested today. I always heard Zegama is unique. It’s my first time here and I confirm!”
 
The women’s race was led by last year’s winner Azara Garcia who reached Sancti Spiritu with a short lead over Megan Kimmel. Oihana Kortazar was six minutes behind and Yngvild alternating in 4th and 5th. Again, the cold wet conditions prevailed forcing Azara to retire at 30 km where Megan, visibly suffering, momentarily took over the lead. It was here Yngvild surged to the front to close with nearly nine minutes’ advantage. Oihana wrestled with Marta Molist to finish an excellent third. For Yngvild, it appears the tougher the weather, the more she likes it, as seen in her first Sky Series’ victory in a typhoon in Hong Kong last October.
 
Megan Kimmel who now leads the Series after Yading, hails from Colorado’s 3,000m Rocky mountains. “It was survival. I wasn’t sure I would finish. At the top I put my jacket on too late. My vision was blurred and my legs gave way under me. It took me almost to the end to warm up”. 
 
It’s ‘just a marathon’ but the brutal 5,472m vertical ascent and descent, the highly competitive field and the severe climate conditions make this race, now in its 15th year, a must on every runner’s bucket list. Time and time again, the throngs of local spectators make the event memorable for every one of the 500 runners lucky enough to gain entry, dissipating the cold with their warmth.
 
After the second race in the eight-race Sky Series, Megan Kimmel leads the women’s ranking and Tadei Pivk heads the men’s.
 

winners Zegama

Zegama-Aizkorri race results
 
Men
1. Kilian Jornet (ESP) Salomon – 3h50’03”
2. Marc Lauenstein (ESP) Salomon – 3h59’22”
3. Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) adidas - 4h00’45”
4. Manuel Merillas (ESP) Mammmut – 4h00’32”
5. Tadei Pivk (ITA) Crazy Idea – 4h01’57”
 
Women
1. Yngvild Kaspersen (NOR) Salomon – 4h50’58”
2. Megan Kimmel (USA) Asics – 4h59’46”
3. Oihana Kortazar (ESP) Salomon – 5h06’37”
4. Marta Molist (ESP) FEEC– 5h07’41”
5. Maite Maiora (ESP) La Sportiva – 5h18’59”

All images copyright Quim Farrero
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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