It was records all round in the second Sky Classic race of the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series yesterday in Spain’s Basque Country. It will be a day to remember with both the men’s and women’s course records crushed in this 16th edition of the Zegama-Aizkorri marathon.
A mix of cool weather, hot competition and formidable talent were the ingredients here which saw Norwegian Stian Angermund-Vik close in 3h45’05 and Spaniard Maite Maiora in 4h34’27”.
Angermund has proven yet again that he’s tops in both the VK and Sky Classic categories after clinching the win in Friday’s Vertical Kilometer® World Circuit race here. As reigning World Champion title for the combined title, it’s evident he excels in the double challenge.
Italian Marco De Gasperi, after announcing it would be his last race here, was an excellent second in 3h48’19”, just 3” off the previous record set by Kilian Jornet. Marc Lauenstein from Switzerland dropped from his 2016 second place to third, but shaved six minutes off his time, crossing the finish line in 3h53’20”.
An overjoyed Angermund-Vik exclaimed, “It was the most crazy and fantastic race I have ever done. The people here gave me so much energy at the Sancti Spiritu. I never experienced anything similar. I love Zegama!”
“I didn’t focus on the record. I think the conditions were quite good today so I wasn’t sure I was running ahead of the record. The last 12k was so painful. I was ready to lay down. I was so happy but so exhausted, too tired to think, to stand up. It was so fantastic, not the last time I’ll be here. I’ll come back!” he added.
Maiora, like Angermund-Vik, holds the Skyrunning World Championships combined title and is a four-time veteran of the race. Finally, she took the win and smashed the long-standing record set by Emanuela Brizio in 2008 by nearly four minutes. In second place, also below record time, Italian Silvia Rampazzo in 4h37’17” and third, Spaniard Sheila Avilés in 4h43’24”.
“I was very focussed, keeping a cold head the whole time,” commented Maiora. “It’s something I’ve been working on for months and today, I put it in practice.”
“It’s really emotional to win here, everything is really special, a dream. One of the reasons I run in the mountains is for the Zegama marathon. The dream has become reality. I thought the record would be impossible. I trained here in Zegama several times and I knew that I could go below five hours, but not get the record. I knew I was in good shape and I knew if I kept a strong rhythm, few could keep up with me, so I concentrated on that.”
One of the most popular races on the international skyrunning scene, the Zegama-Aizkorri has been a permanent feature on the Skyrunner® World Series since 2004. The 42 km race, with a tough 5,472m ascent and descent, attracts a consistently deep field which, with the cool weather, contributed to today’s fast times.
The popularity of the race is also thanks to the enormous enthusiasm and support of the local people who line the course in their thousands, applauding and cheering every single one of the 500 participants along the way.
Zegama-Aizkorri race results
- Stian Angermund-Vik (NOR) – 3h45’05”
- Marco De Gasperi (ITA) – 3h48’19”
- Marc Lauenstein (SUI) – 3h53’20”
- Aritz Egea (ESP) – 3h55’41”
- Adrien Michaud (FRA) – 3h56’33”
- Maite Maiora (ESP) – 4h34’27”
- Silvia Rampazzo (ITA) – 4h37’17”
- Sheila Avilés (ESP) – 4h43’24”
- Oihana Azkorbebeitia (ESP) – 4h47’38”
- Celia Chiron (FRA) – 4h48’09”