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Kilian Jornet and Nienke Brinkman smash Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon course records

Kilian Jornet has now won 10 of the last 11 Zegama races, and Nienke Brinkman continues to stun the running world

Photo by: Jordi Saragossa

On Sunday, at the first stage in the Gold Trail World Series (GTWS), Spain’s Kilian Jornet and Nienke Brinkman of the Netherlands both won the Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon in a course record time.

Jornet has now won the race for the 10th time in 11 attempts on the trail of Zegama-Aizkorri, in the Basque Country, Spain. His time of 3:36:40 took nine minutes off the previous record of 3:45:08 set by Stian Angermund-Vik in 2017.

The 34-year-old trail runner covered the 42-kilometre course at a fierce pace while climbing a steep 2,736 metres of elevation gain. Runners had to deal with seasonally warm temperatures but were greeted by thousands of people posted along the course.

Jornet finished three minutes ahead of Italy’s Davide Magnini (3:39:31), with whom he duelled for a long time until the final climb around 33 km. Spain’s Manuel Merillas, who is the reigning skyrunning world champion and speed record holder on Mont Blanc, finished third in 3:45:43.

Jornet has won Zegama in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2019 and now 2022. The big goal for Jornet this year is to win the Hardrock 100 miler, which takes place in Silverton, Colo., on July 15, where he will have to compete against the 2021 UTMB champion, François D’haene of France.

Nienke Brinkman wins the Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon in a course record time of 4:16:43. Photo: GTWS

In the women’s race, it was all Dutch-phenom Brinkman. The 28-year-old Dutch marathon record holder never trailed in the race and ran the entire race alone past 10K. Brinkman led Maude Mathys of Switzerland by three minutes at the halfway point and beat Mathys by over nine minutes at the finish, smashing the existing course record by 18 minutes in 4:16:43. Mathys was second in 4:26:03 and Sara Alonso of Spain rounded out the top three, 37 seconds behind Mathys. All three women were well inside the previous course record.

In two months, Brinkman has notched a 2:22 marathon performance in Rotterdam and the Zegama Marathon course record. She is a former Dutch field hockey player, who only started running seriously at the start of the pandemic in 2020. At the end of 2021, she joined Nike’s NN Running Team.

Brinkman currently lives in Zurich, Switzerland, where she does a lot of training on the trails and difficult mountain paths.