With a unspoken promise to myself I left Zegama last year (You might be interested in my post about the Zegama-Aizkorri Mendi Maratoia 2013). I left it with added demand and admiration to the most distinctive and vast competition I ever took part in. I guaranteed myself to come back stronger. To perform better. I wanted to give the energy back to this community and to those trails. I will more than evidently never go for the win or the Top50 in this race. But that does not really matter. I fell in love with this place and the vibe it forms. I just wanted to give something back with a solid all-out show. I failed the 2nd time. Zegama got me again. What a course, what a race.

Credits: 42195.es

This event starts well before the sound of the gun. In the consequences of last year’s race Florian Reichert and I decided to run it again this year. Both of us were stoked and felt the need to come here again. The absurd excitement that surrounds the race around the Aizkorri national park just got bigger and bigger each day. Social media went wild the week before. Fresh pictures arrived day by day and transported the hype around the interweb. With the impatience to link in, we boarded the plane in Frankfurt joining Eirik and Stevie on the way to Bilbao to meet up with Mauri from Argentina. And when a Spanish speaking German professor tells you the incorrect direction based on a Norwegian sat nav, you know that you are on the way to experience something one of its kind.

Credits: Fotoiosu Photography

Sunshine is not something that comes across very often in this part of the world. The days before the race were perfect anyway. The weather forecast wasn’t. We had great fun hanging around the town and joining the INOV8 mob for some funky jogging and eating around our domicile. Superb vibe. Again. Only in Zegama.

Credits: Fotoiosu Photography

And as the weather forecast predicted, it rained. It downpoured a lot when I woke up to get breakfast on race morning. We warmed up in the rain gear and there was no sign of the mountains as they were covered in big grey chunky clouds. You never know what you get here. Once more. Only in Zegama.

Then we lined up. And this vibe just gets you straight away. Meeting so many old faces and getting to know new people. It felt a bit like coming home. The sociability of the locals is just incredible and exactly the reason why I wanted to deliver. The church bells rang and the countdown was on. Off we went.

Credits: Fotoiosu Photography

And straight from the start is was a tough one for me. I never really got the rhythm. I wanted to start easy but the easy pace felt way to easy. To easy for this race. To easy for the outcome I was aiming for. The heavy ground was tough to run and grip wasn’t really on my side. When I crashed the first time I did not really bother. After the 10th time slamming down in the deep and frosty muck I lost a good bit of self believe. I got even more alert but couldn’t avoid additional harsh crashes during the rock sections and on the downhills. Running technical downhill is something I can do. I liked it while running this race last year. Not so this time. I was totally out of pace and power.

Credits: myself

When German Salomon girl Romy joined me on my sophisticated trek just before the legendary Sancti Spiritu climb I was pretty pleased for some companionship. The two of us had a awful day and we fought the route together. Like last year, all the climbs were incredible. The spectators are out of this world. Even in the back of the field it is an incredible emotion to go up the Aizkorri (Video Evidence) and feel the power and craziness. With the weighty mist and the sinful light behind the clouds it shaped a thrilling atmosphere. Jointly we fought through the breeze along with showers and lastly reached the market square. Way too late.

So I think I have go back once again with a another promise. With the promise to run this race better. After two awful performances it won’t be hard to run it better. Still the vibe and the ambiance left me with pleasure and happiness. Having made the journey down here was worth it. There is no other race like this. There is no similar vibe. Zegama in fact is Zegama. Until next year.

Shoes: Brooks Cascadia 9
Shirt: Brooks Infiniti SS
Shorts: Brooks Sherpa VI 5″ 
Sleeves: Brooks
Head: Buff Euskadi Design
Hydration: Inov8 Tace Ultra 0.25
Watch: Garmin Fenix