2024 Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon Results: Kilian Jornet’s 11th Title, Sylvia Nordskar’s First Win

Results from the 2024 Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon, held in Basque Country, Spain, with wins by Kilian Jornet and Sylvia Nordskar.

By on May 26, 2024 | Comments

In the 2024 Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon, both a race rookie and a race veteran ended up on the podium’s top step. In the women’s race, Sylvia Nordskar (Norway) dominated from the halfway point to take her first win in the event, and Kilian Jornet (Spain, lives in Norway) led from the start in the men’s race to take his 11th win out of 12 starts.

Starting at 9 a.m. local time on Sunday, May 26, the 42-kilometer race traversed rugged terrain across Basque Country, Spain, with more than 2,700 meters of climbing on technical terrain. It’s the third event in the Golden Trail World Series, following up on races in China and Japan back in April. The route climbs the four of the highest peaks in Basque Country and is notorious for its adverse weather conditions. Luckily, this year’s start was perfect, with minimal wind and less mud on course than in some years.

Sylvia Nordskar - 2024 Zegama Marathon champion - Sanct Spiritu with fans

Sylvia Nordskar on her way to her first win of the Zegama Marathon, during the 2024 edition. Photo: Zegama Marathon/Roger Salanova

In the women’s race, the top five finishers from 2023 were all back again, with last year’s winner Daniela Oemus (Germany) looking to repeat. Joining these five were rising stars, Basque locals, and Zegama first-timers Malen Osa and Lide Urrestarazu.

With Jornet lining up for his 12th Zegama after 10 prior wins, including a course record of 3:36:40 set in 2022, it would have been hard to bet against him. However, there were several others looking to take the title, including last year’s winner Manuel Merillas (Spain) and Jornet’s NNormal teammate Elhousine Elazzaoui (Morocco), who placed second last year.

But in the words of Jornet, “Zegama is Zegama,” and anything can happen on race day, so read on for the full race report.

2024 Zegama Marathon Women’s Race

The women’s race was set to be an exciting one with so many top women returning for another go at the course. The United States’s Dani Moreno took the lead from the line. At about eight kilometers into the race, she was joined by Switzerland’s Theres Leboeuf, who came third at the first stop of the Golden Trail World Series, the Kobe Trail in Japan, and Sylvia Nordskar from Norway.

It was extremely tight in the first part of the women’s race, with the top five, which included Bailey Kowalczyk from the United States and Lide Urrestarazu of Basque Country, staying within a minute of each other.

Marta Martinez - 2024 Zegama Marathon second place - Sancti Spiritu with fans

Marta Martínez improved upon her eighth place last year to take third at the 2024 Zegama Marathon. Photo: Zegama Marathon/Igor Quijano

Around 13 kilometers, Nordskar overtook Leboeuf for the lead and continued to hold this position up to the notorious Sancti Spiritu climb. Behind them, Urrestarazu crept further up the leaderboard with each passing kilometer, working her way into second at Sancti Spiritu, two minutes behind Nordskar and a minute ahead of Marta Martínez of Spain.

Nordskar went from strength to strength at the front, increasing her lead over the rest of the field whilst the fight for second place continued in the race’s second half. After a fairly conservative start, Basque Country local Malen Osa started moving up in the latter kilometers of the course. The youngster finished fourth in the 2023 Golden Trail World Series and wanted to make her mark in her home race.

By 26 kilometers in, she’d worked her way into second, just over four minutes behind the leader. Martínez trailed her in third, while Urrestarazu started to fade in the second half. After finishing 18th at the Zegama Marathon in 2022 and fourth in 2023, Nordskar crossed the finish line victorious in 4:29:12. Close behind her, Osa held onto second in 4:35:19, followed just 20 seconds later by Martínez in 4:35:39.

Leboeuf fought her way back to fourth in 4:36:16, overtaking Urrestarazu, who finished in 4:37:20.

Malen Osa - 2024 Zegama Marathon second place - Sancti Spiritu with fans

Malen Osa, who hails from Basque Country, was a fan favorite at the 2024 Zegama Marathon. Here, she ascends the famous Sancti Spiritu climb amongst the thousands of fans gathered. Photo: Zegama Marathon/Igor Quijano

2024 Zegama Marathon Women’s Results

  1. Sylvia Nordskar (Norway) – 4:29:12
  2. Malen Osa (Spain) – 4:35:19
  3. Marta Martínez (Spain) – 4:35:39
  4. Theres Leboeuf (Switzerland) – 4:36:16
  5. Lide Urrestarazu (Spain) – 4:37:20
  6. Elisa Desco (Italy) – 4:40:28
  7. Daniela Oemus (Germany) – 4:41:21
  8. Rosa Lara (Spain) – 4:42:54
  9. Ida Robsahm (Norway) – 4:44:31
  10. Caitlin Fielder (New Zealand) – 4:46:02

Full results.

[From 2010 to 2012, Elisa Desco served a two-year doping ban from the IAAF after she tested positive for EPO at the 2009 World Mountain Running Championships.]

Top five women - 2024 Zegama Marathon

The top five women of the 2024 Zegama Marathon (l-to-r): 4. Theres Leboeuf, 2. Malen Osa, 1. Sylvia Nordskar, 3. Marta Martínez, and 5. Lide Urrestarazu. Photo: Zegama Marathon/Roger Salanova

2024 Zegama Marathon Men’s Race

From the first climb of the race, Spain’s Kilian Jornet (Spain, lives in Norway) took the lead, looking ready to take his 11th Zegama Marathon title. Just eight kilometers in, he’d already created nearly a minute gap over Kevin Kibet and Robert Pkemoi Matayango, both from Kenya. Jornet’s teammate, Elhousine Elazzaoui of Morocco, wasn’t far behind the top three.

As the race continued upward, Jornet pushed to increase the gap between himself and the rest of the field.

Kilian Jornet - 2024 Zegama Marathon - Sancti Spiritu climb with fans

Kilian Jornet on his way to winning the 2024 Zegama Marathon, his 11th victory at the race. Photo: Zegama Marathon/Igor Quijano

By the incline at the notorious Sancti Spiritu, where the crowds did not disappoint, Jornet had a three-minute lead on Kibet, and it seemed as if he were on pace to beat his own course record of 3:36:40, which he set in 2022. Pkemoi Matayango stayed close in third, with Elazzaoui trailing in fourth 20 kilometers into the race.

However, Kibet seemed to struggle with the tricky terrain after Sancti Spiritu. While he finished third at Sierre-Zinal in 2023, his trail racing experience is relatively limited. His fellow Kenyan Pkemoi Matayango also lost places in the latter half of the course.

Poland’s Bartłomiej Przedwojewski and Elazzaoui used this technical, rocky trail to fight their way into the second and third place, where they would leapfrog with each other for the remainder of the race. Behind the top three, taking advantage of the fading Kenyans, Italy’s Luca Del Pero also worked his way forward in the standings.

Last year’s winner, Manuel Merillas of Spain, started more conservatively but slowly edged his way toward the front end of the group, using the steep technical terrain to his advantage.

Bartlomiej Przedwojewski - 2024 Zegama Marathon third place

Bartłomiej Przedwojewski looking fresh after taking third at the 2024 Zegama Marathon. Photo: Zegama Marathon/Roger Salanova

Jornet pushed in the final 10 kilometers in an effort to set another new course record, but stomach problems slowed him down toward the end. Still, he took a fantastic win, crossing the line in 3:38:07. Elazzaoui finished second in 3:46:16 and Przedwojewski in third with a time of 3:46:54.

Del Pero improved on his 13th place finish at the Zegama Marathon last year with fourth and a time of 3:47:25, just edging out Merillas, who came home in fifth in 3:47:42.

2024 Zegama Marathon Men’s Results

    1. Kilian Jornet (Spain, lives in Norway) – 3:38:07
    2. Elhousine Elazzaoui (Morocco) – 3:46:16
    3. Bartłomiej Przedwojewski (Poland) – 3:46:54
    4. Luca Del Pero (Italy) – 3:47:25
    5. Manuel Merillas (Spain) – 3:47:42
    6. Robert Pkemoi Matayango (Kenya) – 3:50:02
    7. Marcin Kubica (Poland) – 3:53:24
    8. Alain Santamaría (Spain) – 3:54:11
    9. Loïc Robert (France) – 3:55:52
    10. Léonard Mitrica (Romania) – 3:56:28

Full results.

Top five men - 2024 Zegama Marathon

The top five men of the 2024 Zegama Marathon (l-to-r): 4. Luca Del Pero, 2. Elhousine Elazzaoui, 1. Kilian Jornet, 3. Bartłomiej Przedwojewski, and 5. Manuel Merillas (with his dog Zar). Photo: Zegama Marathon/Roger Salanova

Eryn Barber

Eryn Barber is a freelance writer at iRunFar. For the last five years she’s also written for publications like “Ultra Runner Magazine” and “Like The Wind Magazine.” She works as a personal trainer, has a master’s degree in strength and conditioning, and has been featured in “Women’s Health” magazine. Eryn has transitioned over the last decade from sprinting on the track to running on the trails and fells, distances anywhere from five to 50 kilometers. In her spare time she enjoys reading, drinking Earl Grey tea, and learning French.