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Kilian and Emelie rule Zegama

Winner Emelie Forsberg - photo © Jordi Saragossa

Salomon’s Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg, both standing Skyrunner® World Series champions, win the tough Zegama-Aizkorri, the first of the Series Sky races.  Just two weeks earlier, they were victorious at Transvulcania, La Palma, in the Ultra Series.  Spain’s Luis Alberto Hernando, 2011 world champion, also had a repeat performance coming an extremely close second in both races.


In a deeply stacked field the first half of the race was fast and furious, with many strong runners out front, only to burn out on the descent behind the more experienced skyrunners.


Winners - photo © paolo seccoItaly’s Marco De Gasperi, who has duelled with Jornet on various occasions, today led the race to the 21 km check point, with Jornet pacing him just 1’20” behind.  After cancelling his participation due to injury, De Gasperi turned up at the start line with just a few weeks of training to race his sparring partner, at least for half the race, where he dropped out to leave the downhill to Jornet and Hernando.  Jornet closed just 20 seconds short of Rob Jebb’s 2005 record in 3h54’38” and Hernando, glued to his heels, finished only 12 seconds later.  Third was an excellent Tadei Pivk from Italy in his first international race, closing in 3h59’07”.


The intense ladies’ race was led by American Stevie Kremer, at her first SkyMarathon attempt.  At 22 km, Forsberg took over the lead, with Italy’s Silvia Serafini, third, followed by Celine Lafaye and Oihana Kortazar, 2011 world champion and last year’s race winner.


Nuria Picas, 2012 Skyrunner Ultra champion and fresh from her second place at Transvulcania, stepped up her pace from 7th position to seriously challenge downhill expert Forsberg all the way to the finish.  Forsberg closed in 4h48’12”, Picas, second in 4h49’55” and Kremer, third in 4h49’58”.  No doubt we’ll be seeing the talented Kremer again on the podium in the rest of the Series, especially after some downhill training. “I loved the uphill”, she said, “but the downhill was so technical.  I had a hard time letting loose”.


Skyrunning is not just about fast ascents, but even faster descents – a technique that distinguishes the sport.  Many strong runners new to the sport, like Germany’s Florian Reichert, Japan’s Toru Miyahara and South African A J Caltiz, who excelled on the uphill, will be honing their skills on the downhill for the next Sky Series challenge in Chamonix on June 30 with the Mont-Blanc Marathon.


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Race results

Men

1. Kilian Jornet (Salomon Santiveri) – 3h54’38”

2. Luis Alberto Hernando (adidas) – 3h54’50”

3. Tadei Pivk (Crazy Idea) – 3h58’07”


Women

1.  Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) -  4h48’12”

2.  Nuria Picas (FEEC) – 4h49’55”

3.  Stevie Kremer (Salomon Agisko) – 4h49’58”


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