|Zegama champion line-up announced|
Come May 26 and the annual Zegama-Aizkorri Maratòn lights up Spain’s rural Basque country when six hundred runners invade the tranquil town of Zegama. Since 2004, the race has been a permanent feature on the Skyrunner® World Series and has grown to represent one of the most important skyrunning races on the international calendar.
The consistently deep field attracts runners from far afield and the best of the best contend for the podium over the 42km course and 5,472m of ascent and descent.
The star-studded line-up is headed by super-strong Spaniards Kilian Jornet, Luis Alberto Hernando will battle out the winning slot. Tofol Castanyer will be up front with the leaders.
The contenders also count Frenchmen Michel Lanne, Michel Rabat, Nicolas Pianet and Andorran Oscar Casal. At his first Zegama attempt, Italian Tadei Pivk is a strong podium candidate and fellow countrymen Fulvio Dapit, Daniele Cappelletti and Fabio Bazzana won’t be far behind. Dapit has performed consistently well here arriving five times in the top ten.
In their first Zegama experience American Alex Nichols and Japan’s Toru Miyahara and Dai Matsumoto together with a three-man team from Russian Skyrunning will no doubt enjoy the tough competition and lung-bursting ascents.
Sadly a number of top runners who had planned the event are laid off with injuries. They include Marco De Gasperi, Andy Symonds, Tom Owens, Ionut Zinca, Miguel Heras and Dawa Sherpa.
Since 2012 the women’s field has shot to the headlines with new stars, new records and the “chicking” phenomenon with the gender gap slowly closing. Superstars leading the field are a string of world champions: Emelie Forsberg, Nuria Picas, Oihana Kortazar (2012 winner) and Emanuela Brizio (2009 record holder). Featuring up front will also be Silvia Serafini fresh from her win in China in the Great Wall Marathon.
Among the contenders will also be Franchwomen Maud Gobert and Stephanie Jimenez. Look out for American Stevie Kremer (2nd at Sierre Zinal and Long Distance World Champion), an explosive package with a lot of promise who is taking on the Series this year.
SWS Team Partners Salomon, Arc’terxy, inov-8 and La Sportiva will compete with strong teams. Runners from 16 countries have registered.
After several years of very wet and cold weather, a race day with good conditions could see the long-standing records challenged: 3h54’18” by Rob Jebb (2005) and 4h38’19” by two-time world champion, Emanuela Brizio (2009).
Race website: www.zegama-aizkorri.net