Stay in touch

Jornet wins Zegama again Sylvia Nordskar surprises

Zegama Aizkorri has lived up to its reputation again, with a sensational race and a surprising winner; Sylvia Nordskar. The Norwegian Hoka athlete started out conservative, but once in the lead, never let go. Nordskar’s victory in the women’s race formed a big contrast with the men’s race. That got the winner everybody expected: Kilian Jornet (Spain). He booked his 11th win in 12 starts.

For Nordskar it meant her first victory on the Golden Trail World Series. “I’m overwhelmed. I can’t believe it. I am the happiest girl in the world. When I overtook Theres I knew I was leading the race, but I thought ‘Don’t think about that, just focus on your race.’ The atmosphere at Sancti Spiritu was so special. I used the energy of the crowd to run.”

No course record for Jornet

Jornet’s big goal was the course record, which he set himself in 2022: 3:36:40. The Catalan was convinced he was in the best shape of his life and went for it from the start. The only one who was able to keep up with him for the first couple of kilometres was his Nnormal teammate Elhousine Elazzaoui. However, the Moroccan runner-up of last year had to admit quickly that you have Jornet and you have the rest of the field.

RELATED: What a weekend: Zegama and MUT South-Africa

Jornet kept his foot on the gas. Around the 10 kilometres mark he was one minute and 13 seconds ahead of his own best time. Yet the stomach problems he woke up with started to plague him. Bit by bit he lost his favourable margin he had compared to his 2022 record time.

Elazzaoui loses and wins

In the meantime Elazzaoui paid the price for his valiant effort to go out with Jornet and was taken over by Robert Pkemoi (Kenya, Joma) and Kevin Kibet (Kenya, Milimani Runners). Hot on their heels was Bart Przedwojewski (Poland, Salomon) and Manuel Merillas (Spain, New Balance). From those top 6 runners, Merillas was the only one using running poles on the climbs.

Just over half of the race Jornet’s margin had shrunk to 7 seconds. With the muddy downhill ahead of him he started to focus only on the win. One that was never in doubt, because the only battle that was going on, was the battle for best of the rest. A title Elazzaoui had set his mind on. He fought his way past Robert Pkemoi and Kevin Kibet again, when he got overtaken by Bart Przedwojewski, he stuck behind the strong Polish runner and dropped him just before the last downhill.

17 years on the top

By that time Jornet had crossed the finish line in 3:38:07. “It’s a dream. I’d never have thought 17 years ago that I’d still be here this year for the win. I was feeling pretty confident because of my training. Sadly enough I had a few stomach issues, and I wasn’t feeling particularly light during the race. I knew that in these conditions the record wouldn’t be possible. I thought the others were closer to me, so I kept on pushing. If I’d known I had such a big gap, I would’ve enjoyed the race a bit more!”

Elazzaoui held on to second place in the last metres and finished for the second year in a row in second place. This time in 3:46:16. “I’m really happy with my race today. I’m pleased with how I managed it. At the start, I stayed calm. Sometimes I was 3rd, sometimes 6th, sometimes 5th. Then, from the 26-kilometre mark I set off with Bart. In the final downhill, I managed to overtake thanks to the experience I’ve gained in previous years.”

Behind him Przedwojewski held on to third, which meant finally a podium place again. “I’m just so happy. This third place means so much to me. It all started here in 2018 and it’s my first podium since 2021.”

Fight for first

Where in the men’s race it was clear in the first few kilometres who would win, the women’s race was a real battle with different leaders at different moments. Dani Moreno (United States, Adidas) lead from the start, Theres Leboeuf (Swiss, Compressport) took over, but it was Sylvia Nordskar who would make the deciding move around kilometre 15 and run to her first victory on the Golden Trail World Series in 4:29:12.

Behind her the battle for the podium went on, between Leboeuf, Lide Urrestarazau Agirre (Spain), who had second place in hand for a while, Marta Martinez Abellan (Spain), who made her way slowly forward, and Malen Osa Ansa (Spain), who kept best for lest.

Silver debut Osa

In the end it was Osa, who ran her first marathon ever on home ground, who grabbed second place in 4:35:19. “I wasn’t feeling that brilliant at the start. In the first climb my legs weren’t doing what I wanted them to, but I was lifted by the roar of the crowd. I noticed that the others were dropping back while I still felt strong on the downhill. It wasn’t really my strategy, but it worked.”

Marta Martínez Abellán also passed former race leader Leboeuf and took the last podium spot, just 29 second behind Osa; 4:35:39. “This year I felt in much better shape than last year so I knew I could do better in the ranking. I just tried to find my groove and keep it till the finish. I’m really happy, it’s a real dream for me.”

 

Photos: Mathis Decroux and Leo Roussel

 

All race results of Zegama

Latest posts

UTMB heads for Mauritius and raises prize money

This weekend, June 22-23, 2024 the UTMB athletes will meet in Mauritius, to race each in the heart of the Indian Ocean.

Running an ultra trail race on cupcakes

Let's talk about something yummy and nutritious. Let's talk about running an ultra marathon on cupcakes.

Grand Trail du Saint-Jacques; my first DNF

What was meant to be a confirmation, became a question mark. A story about my first DNF, at the Trail du Saint-Jacques.

Court and Deruaz win Ultra Trail du Saint-Jacques 2024

Sylvain Court and Maëlle Deruaz (both France) have won the Ultra Trail du Saint-Jacques 2024.

Hartmuth and Garner win Trail 100 Andorra 2024

Katharina Hartmuth (Germany) and Zachary Garner (US) have won the Trail 100 Andorra 2024.

Andorra and Saint-Jacques; a double UTMB weekend

It’s UTMB World Series time, with the Trail 100 Andorra and the Trail du Saint-Jacques. We will run the last one.
Training