– 29 MAY 2022, Start 9am, 42 KM, 2,736 M elevation gain
After being cancelled for two years due to Covid, Zegama, the most mythical of mountain marathons, is back. Whilst the best trail runners on the planet gathered in the Basque Country to compete over 42 kilometres and 2,700 metres of elevation gain, 30,000 hugely excited Basque supporters were encouraging them from the edges of the trails.
A unique atmosphere
Imagine: 30,000 people, nearly the equivalent of a football stadium, all gathered together over a kilometre along the Sancti Spiritu climb, shouting, blowing into their vuvuzelas, singing their hearts out. This is the unique atmosphere experienced by the 500 runners competing in Zegama, the first race in the Golden Trail Series 2022. An atmosphere that some elite runners discovered for the first time this year. “This race is incredible. The spectators shout so loudly that you can still them in your ears after you have finished this climb”, confides Nienke Brinkman (Team Nike Trail, Netherlands), who set the record for the race the very first time he competed. His pursuer, Maude Mathys (Team Salomon, Switzerland) also appreciated the Basque atmosphere that is so characteristic of Zegama. “This ambiance is just amazing, I have never seen a race with such a great atmosphere. You can hear the crowd four kilometres away, it feels like there’s a massive party going on every five kilometres.”. For some people, it is this atmosphere that makes Zegama the greatest race in the world. Rémi Bonnet (Team Salomon, Switzerland), winner in 2018 and Thibaut Baronian (Team Salomon, France) 3rd in 2019 both think so. “Zegama is unique, there’s nothing else like it, a crazy crowd all shouting and encouraging you. It’s something you have to experience once in a lifetime as a trail runner. ”
Records for the return of the race
In terms of sporting achievement, Kilian Jornet (Team Nnormal, Spain) had nine victories before this 2022 edition. On top form, the Catalan is leaving Zegama with a tenth victory under his belt and has even broken the record for the race. The new women’s record has also been set, as having broken the Netherlands road marathon record (2h22), Nienke Brinkman (Team Nike Trail, Netherlands) has also broken the women’s record for Zegama, held by Maite Maiora since 2017.
Next up Chamonix
After this season’s first race, the Golden Trail World Series is heading to Chamonix (France) for the Marathon du Mont-Blanc on 26 June. Another opportunity for some runners to score points and for others to make their entry in the series.
1 – KILIAN JORNET (ESP– NNORMAL): 03:36:40 (+200 pts)
2 – DAVIDE MAGNINI (ITA – SALOMON): 03:39:31 (+176 pts)
3 – MANUEL MERILLAS (ESP –SCARPA): 03:45:43 (+156 pts)
4 – ELHOUSINE ELAZZAOUI (MAR – PINI MOUNTAIN RACING): 03:47:53 (+144 pts)
5 – ROBERT PKEMBOI MATAYANGO (KEN – SKY RUNNERS KENYA): 03:48:35 (+136 pts)
1 – NIENKE BRINKMAN (NLD – NIKE TRAIL): 04:16:43 (+200 pts)
2 – MAUDE MATHYS (SUI – SALOMON): 04:26:03 (+ 176 pts)
3 – SARA ALONSO (ESP – SALOMON): 04:26:40 (+ 156 pts)
4 – PATRICIA PINEDA CORNEJO (ESP – LA SPORTIVA): 04:36:31 (+144 pts)
5 – FABIOLA CONTI (ITA – SALOMON): 04:36:43 (+136 pts)
Get all the Zegama 2022 rankings here:
Find the Golden Trail World Series 2022 general ranking here: https://goldentrailseries.com/series/gtws.htm
Golden Trail TV: goldentrailseries.com/gttv/
Source: Golden Trail Series