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Thursday, 15 June 2006

Skyrunner Circuit II: Spain

The Track: Zegama-Aizkorri

A medium mountain course over the Aratz massif and the Sierra of Aizkorri which includes the four highest peaks in the Basque Autonomous Region ( Aratz – Aitzkorri –Akategi and Aitxurri ). From the town of Zegama ( 296m) it climbs to the pass of Otzaurte (652m ) and then follows, from the mountain pass onwards, a route along paths and mountain tracks of great natural beauty. It combines forests, principally beech, with steep rocky slopes and high grazing land. It is very technical and with a high level of difficulty. It scores towards the Buff Skyrunner World Series FSA 2006.

Date: 28 of May, 2006
Start/Finish: Zegama ( Guipúzcoa ) – 9:00.
Distance: 42.195 km.
Height Gain: 5.472 metres
Time Limit: 8 Hours.
Records: 3h54m18s (men). 5h03m57s (women).

The News: British runners storm into World Series at the first race in Spain

In Zegama, the British look set to topple the Italian and Catalan supremacy in the Series and the women’s ’98 skyrunning world champion, Corinne Favre looks ready to reclaim the title, dominated by the Catalans over the past few years.

The kick-off of Buff® SkyRunner® World Series in Zegama had a smouldering start. The world’s top skyrunners were all there – the most notable exceptions being last year’s world champion, Agustí Roc (injured) and Bruno Brunod who will attempt the record on Everest around June 1.

At 9 am, the starter’s pistol marked the first race in the seven- strong Buff® SkyRunner® World Series, at the Zegama-Aizkorri Mendi Maratoia in Spain. The weather conditions were variable, cloudy at low altitude, clear on the summit with rain at the finish, perhaps favourable for the record set by winner Robert Jebb - 3h54’18”, 12 minutes less than last year’s record by Mario Poletti from Italy.

Corinne Favre’s winning time was 5h03’57”, 5’.5” less than last year’s women’s record.

Right from the start, a group headed the race with Robert Jebb, Italians Marco Rusconi, Fulvio Dapit, Mario Poletti and Fabio Bonfanti, and local runners, Zinca and Olibarri out in front.

The various ascents picked out the strongest runners while others recovered on the downhill. Jebb was always in the lead and at the finish, second place went to fellow countryman, Simon Booth (3h59’11”) third place to the 2004 Italian Skyrunning Circuit winner, Fabio Bonfanti (4h01’00”), while 4th and 5th places went to Italians, Massimo Colombo and Fulvio Dapit.

In the women’s race, Favre held the lead, Catalan runner Ester Hernàndez placed second, British runner Sharon Taylor third and fourth, the 2004 world champion, Catalan runner Anna Serra. Emanuela Brizio from Italy, who was second in last years’ Series, placed 5th.

The participation of spectators, already numerous last year, was even greater than anticipated - yet another confirmation that interest is growing not only among athletes.

The next race in the Buff® SkyRunner® World Series will be the Valmalenco-Valposchiavo SkyRace on June 12 on the Italian Swiss border where we hope to see Agustí Roc back on top form and Mexican runner, Ricardo Mejia participating.

The Photos

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