Sunday morning in Zegama, in the Basque Country of northern Spain, dawned chilly (10 degrees Celcius/50 degrees Fahrenheit) and wet (spitting rain), but not enough to dampen the spirits of the Zegama-Aizkorri Maratoia runners. 450 athletes climbed up, up, and up into even colder temperatures and a bit of snow as they crossed four major mountain summits in the Basque Mountains and over 5,400 vertical meters of ascending and descending.
In the men’s race, a group of five men quickly broke from the peloton, solidifying that split by the 13-kilometer point. As they climbed higher, men dropped back until it was just Kilian Jornet, Luis Hernando, and Max King pushing the pace. By the race’s last high point, Max dropped from contention (He finished in 15th place.), leaving it a two-man race between Kilian and Luis. In the end, Kilian descended faster and harder, crossing the finish line more than 4 minutes ahead of Luis. Kilian said that it was, indeed, a cold day on the mountain, though he smiled as he said so. In Max’s absence, Tom Owens filled out the men’s podium.
The ladies race was led out by last year’s winner Oihana Kortázar. From the get go, she rarely relinquished her lead nor relaxed her off-the-front running style. Emelie Forsberg played chase for much of the day, coming through the checkpoints in the first half of the race within a minute or two of Oihana. In the last third of the race, she was overtaken by Nuria Picas and her fierce ability to close a race. Nuria finished second and about 10 minutes back from Oihana with Emelie and a host of other women in hot pursuit. Fourth-place woman Lauren Jeska made a mid-race push into the lead. Her stay at the front, however, was brief. On the long, 10+-kilometer descent out of the mountains and back into Zegama, she couldn’t hold pace and slipped into her final, fourth position.
As usual, we’ll be adding info and race reports as we learn more over the coming days.
2012 Zegama Marathon Men’s Results
- Kilian Jornet (Salomon) – 3:56:06 (post-race video interview)
- Luis Hernando – 4:00:42
- Tom Owens (Salomon) – 4:06:05
- Michel Lanne (Salomon) – 4:06:22
- Jokin Lizeaga – 4:09:58
- Miguel Caballero – 4:11:50
- Fulvia Dapit – 4:14:39
- Tofol Castaner – 4:14:40
- Jose Gutierrez – 4:14:54
- Greg Vollet (Salomon) – 4:15:33
- Check out the full results from the race.
2012 Zegama Marathon Women’s Results
- Oihana Kortázar (Salomon) – 4:52:30
- Núria Picas – 5:01:26
- Émelie Forsberg (Salomon) – 5:01:57
- Lauren Jeska (Arc’teryx)- 5:04:11
- Oihana Azkorbebeitia – 5:08:07
- Sarah Ridgeway (Inov-8) – 5:09:53
- Uxue Fraile – 5:20:57
- Nikki Kimball (The North Face) – 5:21:06
- Nerea Amilibia – 5:22:38
- Elena Calvillo – 5:27:29