What a day !
Marco de Gasperi after a turbulent 7 months in 2012 returned to form in a race that he loves! You can listen to what he had to say the day before the race HERE
Initially Marco de Gasperi and Cardona (Columbia) raced neck and neck going through 10km’s side by side. But Marco looked relaxed and in control. Post race in a finish line interview (listen HERE) he told me that the Columbian looked tired and he decided to push hard on the descent. We had discussed only the day before the race how he practices the skills to run down technical trail quickly.
He soon opened a gap and ran into the finish with a gap of just under 6 mins to prove to everyone that Marco is back!
Cardona obviously struggled with the pace and the effort that Marco had dictated and relinquished second place to Cesar Costa from Martigny. Cesar crossed the line in 2:37:39 in comparison to Marco’s 2:31:69.
David Cardona did hold on to third place though in 2:38:06
British men excelled in what was a very tough field with 43 year old and previous winner of Sierre Zenal (in his younger days as he told me) Billy Burns taking a great 9th place (2:43:38) in front of Tom Owens in 12th (2:45:56) and Joe Symonds in 18th (2:48:42).
In post race chats with both Tom and Joe they said how they had been going well running in the top 10 but the altitude had hit them making it really tough when racing along the plateau.
Billy Burns on the other hand who lives locally was adjusted. He kept saying to me post race “You know I’m over 40 don’t you? You know, don’t you?” He seemed really stoked at gaining a top 10 in an incredibly tough field. So he should!
The Ladies Race
Well, I guess the ladies race didn’t quite go to plan… or should I say, it didn’t quite go to the form book! Pre race favourites such as Oihana Kortazar and Nuria Picas didn’t have the races they wanted with Oihana dropping early and Nuria arriving at the finish looking in real pain.
Aline Camboulive from France moved ahead of the ladies field early on and maintained the gap all the way to the finish.
Big surprise of the race was American, Stevie Kremer who ran an incredible race to finish just 1:30 down on the winner for second place. She had been my pre-race dark horse! I had several chats with her prior to race day and although we all knew little about her she seemed motivated and very modest about her ability. On the finish line she looked as though she had just run a 10K !
Third placed lady some 6 mins behind the winner was Maud Mathys from Ollon.
Surprise of the day came from a last minute entrant! Non other than Lizzy Hawker. Apparently, she had phoned the race organiser at the 11th hour, obtained and entry and slipped into the race as a ‘training run’ (her words) on the back of some serious UTMB training. She still placed 9th!
Lizzy had this to say on the finish: listen HERE
Once again Sierre Zinal confirms itself as a race for everyones bucket list! At 31km’s it is a manageable distance for all. With two starts, one at 0500 am for the walkers and slower runners and then 0900 for the main runners it provides everyone with a possibility to experience the scenery, the altitude and the climbs of this beautiful area of Switzerland.