I hope I never used this word before. Since I tire the Internet sphere with this blog I always tried to avoid using it. Nowadays this term is used way to often. It seems to never really hit the circumstances. At least for me. I wanted to safe that declaration to label something truly and honestly special. Something that is matchless. Something that stands out for me. After Sunday I know the time has come. It is the time to use this word while trying to define something that deserves the use of this special word.
To describe the Zegama-Aizkorri Maratòn, I must use this word. What a race! What a day! What an epic experience.
|Done and dusted – At least Luis had a shower already. (Flo, Luis and me)|
I need to set myself the goal to keep this post short, sweet and interesting. As I’m still buzzing in the aftermath of the race and everything that happened the last couple of days I shouldn’t let myself go and spread boredom.
Some of you dear readers will know of the Zegama-Aizkorri Maratòn as the iconic mountain race. Matt Ward of MST pretty much hit the note when he wrote in his race preview:
“In cycling speak you could probably compare ‘Zegama’ to the Paris-Roubaix, in motor sport the Monaco Grand Prix – you get the picture. The Zegama-Aizkorri Maratòn is a monument in mountain sport, a skyrunning classic…”
Kilian Jornet’s quote sums the whole thing up.
“Zegama? Is Zegama!“
I was following the race since a couple of years. Last years edition was heavily media featured and another legendary race was summed up with legendary blog posts by Nick Clark, Max King, Joe Grant or Dakota Jones. Just to name a few. This race creates a very own mystic.
When my dear friend Mauri secured my entry not even two weeks before the race I was overwhelmed. Knowing that I wasn’t in the form for a race like this I just went there without any pressure and the chance to enjoy what everybody was talking about. The unique atmosphere.
|Euskal Herria – Me going up the Aratz climb (Photo: Gorka)|
When I crossed the finish line last Sunday it took me way to long to run the race. Nevertheless I had Goosebumps. I wont even try to describe all the little details of the race. As I was talking to fellow german Flo Reichert at the finish and the day after. Running Zegama is something you cannot really explain to someone who hasn’t done it.
Seeing all the pictures and watching all the youtube clips gives you a rough idea. It will never give you the agony of the unbelievable steep uphill’s. It never gives you the anxiety of the exceptionally rocky parts when you cross from one mountain top to the other. It never gives you the stings of the vertical descents. It never gives you that unmatchable feeling running through these ridiculous crazy crowds. All of this is inexpressible. At least for me.
|Some steep “technical” running (Photo: 42195.es)|
Going up the mountain at Sancti Spiritu was pure madness and matchless. Since visiting the basque country four years ago I appreciate the people and their culture. To be able to run their race was so special. Eneko, the selector of the basque national mountain running team, presented me with a Euskadi Buff at the registration. I was so honored to wear it during the race. Whilst going up the steep climbs I could not believe how many people made the effort to climb up here to support all the runners. I tried to join the party as well as I could. So many people printed out the registration lists. If there was one thing for sure then it was your name shouted directly in your ear. By hundreds of people. During the whole climb. At about 1.400 meters above sea level.
Words like: Aupa aupa, Dale, Venga, Allez, Animo or Etorri lined the way. From the start to the finish. There were some parts with no people. It is hard to recall those parts of the course. The Basque people and their appreciation for sports and nature is something special. They shared it the very best way they could and maybe a bit more. Whilst writing this I’m even more secure that there is only one word that describes this race, the people, the course, the whole day and all the people I met with one word.
Thanks to everyone I met along the way. Thanks to the lovely people from the Organization and special Thanks to Mauri!
Tune of the day: Daft Punk ft. Panda Bear – Doin’ It Right