Zegama Aizkorri, that is my dream race. I saw this Alpine marathon this year online and directly fell in love with it. One day I hope to run it. One day….
Trail running is a new world for me. A world I got glimpses of in the past, but never looked seriously into, because my ankle didn’t allow me to run. Now my ankle is doing okay, I am diving deeper and deeper into this world. And I am thrilled with every discovery I do.
Golden Trail Series
One of those discoveries is the Golden Trail Series. Six amazing trail runs, 4 in Europe and 2 in the United States. The best athletes qualify for the final, which is this year on Madeira, a Portuguese island in the North Atlantic Ocean, about 520 kilometers west of Morocco.
This year the Golden Trail Series kicked off with Zegama Aizkorri, a mountain marathon . Sara and I decided to watch the live stream. Goosebumps. I don’t think there is a way to describe it. All athletes who have run the race, just say: ‘Zegama is Zegama’.
Tears in my eyes
Okay, let me give it a go. Have you ever seen mountain stages of the Tour de France or La Vuelta a Espana in the Basque Country? Those stages in which all the supporters go crazy? Running with the cyclist, screaming them forward? The roads narrow, the fans almost on top of the riders.
Well, change the image of the cyclists for that of runners. Make the roads even more steep and the crowds bigger and you have something that starts to look like Zegama Aizkorri, with its 5,472 meters of altitude.
If you want to know what the race means for the locals, check out the amazing 4 minute video that is made by Salomon Spain. It always makes me cry, but I am a softy, I know.
The lucky 2 percent
Now I am not a pro. Far from it. I am just a guy who loves running. To race Zegama, that’s the problem. Not the fact that I love running. That’s a good thing, but the fact that I am not a pro. Only 500 people can run it. Thousands and thousands of people want to run it.
Every year only 2 percent of the people who want to run it, get in. So, me being among them, is going to be hard. Very hard. But nothing stops me from dreaming.