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No Zegama for me, Snowdonia it is

No Zegama Aizkorri for me this year. Maybe next year I’ll be more lucky. Although, I still feel very blessed, because in May I’ll be running in Snowdonia in Wales. What I’ve seen online of it so far, makes me very happy. It’s going to be beautiful, technical and hard.

This evening was the draft for Zegama Aizkorri, the mountain marathon with almost 5.500 meters of altitude. As I’ve told you this week, the chance to start there is less than 0.5 percent. I’ve seen people online who have been trying to get in for eleven years and who didn’t get in this year as well. So who am I to feel sorry for myself?

Running up Mount Snowdon

Especially because I have another beautiful race lined up. The Eryri (pronounced Eh-ruh-ree) 25k in Wales. It’s going to be tough, as we have to climb 1.300 meters on technical terrain.

We will be running through Snowdonia National park, up Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), the highest mountain in Wales. Sir Edmund Hillary who was, together with Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest (29 May 1953), used this mountain to prepare for his famous expedition. And now I will be running on it. How cool is that?

Time to prepare

So no, I’m not sad there is no Zegama for me this year. It will give me more time to prepare for next year. See, I’ve never climbed more than 800 meters during a trail run. During a hike yes, but that was a long, long time ago. About 21 years.

Together with my friends Jan and Bernie I climbed the Großvenediger (3.666 meters) in Austria, as part of our mountaineering course. That day we probably did more than 800 meters of altitude, but for the rest it’s all new to me. So registering for Zegama was a very ambitious thing.

Qualification

If I will get in next year, this is the big question. The race is getting more and more popular. I think it would actually be fair if you have to qualify. I mean, now everybody can register, but not everybody will finish.

Why not do it the way UTMB, the organizer of the famous Mont Blanc race, does? Collect qualification points, before you can enter. Or at least show proof you can do the distance, a marathon, and at least climb 3.000 meters during a trail run. There are enough races around that offer one or both criteria.

Okay, that’s not up to me to decide. I can only do my own thing. For now that’s focusing on my training weekend in Spa in the Ardennes in Belgium that starts tomorrow. So let’s pack.

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