Golden Trail World Series

GTWS Podcast #1 - Zegama Pre-Race show with Kilian Jornet, Sara Alonso and Francesco Puppi

May 26, 2022 Martin GAFFURI Season 1 Episode 1
Golden Trail World Series
GTWS Podcast #1 - Zegama Pre-Race show with Kilian Jornet, Sara Alonso and Francesco Puppi
Show Notes Transcript

In this Zegama Pre Race episode, we re-introduce the Golden Trail World Series, discuss insights about Zegama and the athletes line up,  share athletes opinion about why they want to race Zegama and finally the Sunday night Party!

The race Zegama will  be covered live on Sunday, in Spanish, Catalan and English and here is where you can watch it :
On the GTWS Facebook page
On the GTWS Youtube channel
Directly on the Golden Trail Series website

For additional updates, straight from the field on the GTWS Instagram account

Hello and welcome to the Golden Trail World Series podcast. All the spectators is crazy. It's insane. It just gives so many good vibes when you're racing there. It's unique. It's not any other race like that in the world. I want to come to Zegama. I will have a lot of friends, family, telling my name, and it will be amazing. See you guys in Zegama. Hi, I'm Martin GAFFURI, your host for the 2022 Golden Trail Series podcast, an international trail running series launched in 2018. Its world version, known as the Gold Trail World Series, features six iconic races, all under 42 km long, plus a series final where the top 30 male and female runners will be chasing the biggest prize money pie. And we're talking about a 300k euros pie here. Like last pie that looked that good, was at Ikeda... but I'm going on a tangent here. Anyway, for each of the six stages of the series, we will record two separate podcasts. One, the pre-race podcast, we will set the scene, discuss race details, athletes insight and essentially what to look forward in the live video coverage on race day and in the post race podcast, we'll analyse the race highlights, dive back into the race experience together with the male and female winners, there will also be the opportunity to answer your podcast related questions on social media. You're joining me today ahead of the first stage of the 2022 Golden World Series and before we dive deeper into it, I'd like to take you on a trip down memory lane to tell you a little bit more about the Golden Trail World Series. Like I said, it started in 2018, and back then already the trail running was starting to grow, starting to be really significant. And when the Golden Trail Series took place, it was like just taking things to a whole new level. I remember that very clearly because to be honest, personally, I've experienced every single series since the start. I've been at every final. Not that I raced any, don't get me wrong. And right from the start, like the first year, you had six races and a final and you had to run in three races. And the best points you could score would take you - or not - to the top ten of the overall. And being in the top ten, what does that mean? You got invited! Everything paid for, for the final. First year it was in South Africa, Cape Town, the auto race. So all of a sudden the whole scene was like I could get a trip plus one person of my choice to go down to South Africa and race an absolutely epic race??! That was how the Golden Trade World Series came into the scene and really made a lot of noise. And ever since the races were covered, live coverage life commentary. So we could actually take you in to the race, like make you experience the race from the inside, which was just not possible before. And seeing that the distances are never more than 42 km long, it was always intense. There were fight, there were falls as much in the men's as in the women's. That was also another thing. Like there was just the same amount of investment. Camera runners drone and e-mountain bikes for men and women. So this is how it started, and ever since, you probably have heard a little bit more of it if you're here. There was the second year, which was also a really good year, and the final was in Nepal, also fantastic final. And the top ten men and women were quite outstanding athletes, rightfully so. Then 2020 was COVID. Nothing happened. There was still the final Golden Trail World Championships, that happens every other year. And it happened in the ZORES five day stage race. It was absolute chaos. Usually the Azores are beautiful Islands and like that time of the year, we got treated with five days of absolutely terrible weather. There was mud, it was incredible, but it made the show even more exciting. So last year, 2021 was just as crazy. Same stages, six stages during the season. Then the final final was in El Hierro. It was crazy. I don't know if you followed this. It was about marathon distance. Almost two consecutive VKs. Weather was extremely hot, extremely dry, and there's been a lot of going back and forth between the leaders. And Francisco Puppi ended up taking the win in the men's and Maud Mathys, after a serious fight with Ninja Brinkman, took the lead and she actually won the series in 2021 last year. And the men's 2021 champion last year was Stian Angermund. Even though he didn't win the final, he had accumulated three consecutive wins in his stages during the season, and that gave him essentially enough points to become the 2021 champion. And so we're in now the fourth year since it started, 2022, and I'd say now you're up to speed with kind of the history, and what happened. It's time to kick off the season full swing, 2022 with the famous Zegama-Aizkorri after two years of absence. Let's go! All right, let's dive in. What can you expect this weekend at Zegama? A massive party!!! No, just joking... Or am I? More on this later. So stick around. Running wise, the course is 42 km long and it will take you through the Spanish Pyrenees. It's known as the Basque Fever. And why is that? I'm glad you asked. The atmosphere is second to none and the supporters are plain crazy. If you've never seen images of the race, the closest comparison I could give you is the Tour de France. These people screaming, cowbells, they're like, right on the path, especially on the section from Sancti Spiritu to Aizkorri. Like the biggest summit. And it's a party! See, what did I tell you? When it comes to the terrain, the original Zegama experience is an absolute mud fest. So on top of a race and a party, you also get free skin care! The race that keeps giving. Unless, of course, the weather is like in 2017 or 2019 where temperatures were super high, the ground was dry, and he made it for a whole different ballgame for the runners and actually allowed them really fast time. But more on this later. So from a Golden World Series perspective, runners have at least two reasons why they want to raise Zegama. First, the top ten runners will receive support and guaranteed bib number for the next race. So that's kind of a big deal, especially when the races are sold out. And second reason scoring high early in the season because that means points in the bank for the overall ranking and secure top 30 ranking after the six races for the final. So what does it matter? Well, like I said earlier, only the top 30 men and women will be selected to compete in the elite category for the Golden World Series final in Madeira. It'll feature five stages in five days, and each of them will deliver points that will count as well for the over ranking. So to have a crack at the season's price purse, there's no way around the final. But don't take my word for it. This week I caught up with Francesco Puppi, Sara Alonso, and first of all, nine times winner in ten participation, the Goat of Zegama Killian Jornet. I am going to Zegama because it's kind of like home. Like, I participate there the first time in 2007, and since then, it's not been many years I missed the race. The organisers, they are just wonderful. All the volunteers, it's like all the village, it's turned to the race and you really feel these very special ambience and then also all the spectators. It's crazy. It's insane. Like, it just gives so many good vibes when you're racing there. It's unique. It's not any other race like that in the world. And then because of the competition, I love when it's big competitors and in Zegama, it's always a very good competition. It's a race that is pretty tough with very different sections. You need to be fast on some flat, good climber, long last downhill. And people always want to be there to win. So it's always a very tough competition. I want to come to Zegama for two reasons. One of them is because I start in Trail running Golden Trail Series videos, and Zegama look amazing. The other reason is that because I am from Basque country and I will be one of the most popular runner there. I will have a lot of friends, family cheering my name, and it will be amazing. I am going to Zegama because I want to prove myself that I can still be competitive at the level that I think I can be. Zegama is one of the most competitive races in the trail running circuit. It's a great classic. It's a race that has been on my bucket list for several years. I finally get a chance to go and compete with the best guys. So I'm Super excited about it and this year for me has been very difficult because I had a very long injury this winter. I broke my elbow while I was out cycling. I had two surgeries. I've stayed away from running basically for six months and I've just restarted running just a little over a month ago. So of course my training hasn't been ideal, but I think being a more experienced athlete and always finding new ways to improve means that you can find new adjustment and a new balance with running, cross training and everything else that you have in your life. So I hope this is enough and I would rather be 10% under trained than 10% overtrained for this race. So looking forward to see what I can pull out and line up with the best guys. There is such an impressive field and the atmosphere will be higher. So looking forward to be there and give my best and kick off my international running season with the first stage of the Golden Trail World series. So it's going to be interesting. As far as the weather conditions go for this week prior to the race we've heard that the ground was actually dry which means the same fast conditions as 2017 where records were broken. Stien Angemund broke the men's record in 3 hours, 45 minutes and 8 seconds in Maite Maiora broke the woman's course record in 4 hours, 34 minutes and 27 seconds. So in other words, all conditions seem to be in place, because the weather can change anytime over there in Zegama, but so far in place for potential new records. Another reason why we should expect records to be broken because again everybody is going to be there! It's insane. Like seriously, it would be faster to actually name the top athletes who will NOT be at the party. So you want to hear big names, let's go for it. And obviously I'm French, l et's start with the female. First runner we can talk about Nienke Brinkman. She blasted through the Golden Trail World Series last year coming in completely unknown. Second at Sierre-Zinal and then second at the final scoring second overall winning at Chimgau. She was second to Maud Mathys who has been winning the Golden Trail World Series already and she'll be there as well. Then we can expect Sara Alonso will have high ambitions. Sadly, Eli Ann Dvergsdal will not be there. I've talked to her earlier. She is injured. Some other big names. Courtney Dewalter, like the ultra running absolute champion is actually coming to Zegama 42ks, she barely warms up for that, so it's going to be really interesting how she can perform on that terrain. Past winner in Ida Nilsson. We've got another past winner, Emilie Forsberg who is also coming back. Karina Carsolio who was running in the Golden Trail World Series last year as well as the Golden Trail National Series. Odille Spycher who was in the top ten last year in the Golden Trail Series. And I could go on Marcella Vasinova, Oihana Kortazar, Johanna Aström, Anna-Stiina Erkkila, the sister Sanna and Lina El Kott, Lucille Germain from france from France Núria Gil... I mean, you got it. It's insane. The lineup in the women's field is absolutely incredible, probably the deepest we've ever seen on the marathon distance. Now from my perspective, I believe all eyes will be likely on in Kimberly She's fresh off a 2:22:51 marathon, like I repeat 2 hours, 22 minutes, 51 seconds for a road marathon. She broke the Netherland National marathon record. Maud Mathys who is the last year Gold World Series winner. But I would also actually personally put Sara Alonso up high as one of the big challengers, seeing how strong she's been last year and in the first races of the season. And as I said, we really can't rule out past winners, Emilie Forsberg or Ida Nilsson coming back with a mission. In the Men's field, it's not too shabby either. Obviously we've heard him Kilian Jornet is back after nine wins. He's probably going for the 10th, probably going to try and claim back his course record that Stian Angermund had broken. Stian who will not be there actually this year. He's one of the few who will not attend the party. Next to him. Rémi Bonet, we can expect him to go absolutely all out. Like for him it's a win or a DNF. Thibault Baronian from France again, doesn't really need an introduction. Francesco Puppi we've seen him a lot last year in the Golden Trail World Series in the mountain running world as well. He's actually never been to Zegama before, but he's super excited to come here. Nadir Maguet who also we know coming from the ski mountaineering side, but whenever he's in shape, boy, he can do some damage. Frédéric Tranchant who also stormed through the Golden Trail World Series two years ago at the final in the Azores where he scored third. Elhousine Elazzaoui, also someone who we are used to seeing on the podiums of the Golden Trail World Series and then, Oriol Cardona Coll, Manuel Merillas, Ruy Ueda, and Boom. You want more? Jan Margarit Sole, Johann Baujard, William Boffelli , Anders Kjarevik, pretty sure I butchered that name! Anthony Felber, Roberto Delorenzi, Zaid Ait Malek, Pascal Egli, Nicolas Martin, Dakota Jones even coming from the US, we've got people coming literally from all over the place to compete. So how's that for an elite men's field? Now the question that comes to mind is like okay will Kilian truly get his 10th victory at Zegama, and c laim back the course record? How much will the forecasted heat affect the runners? We know that - again talking about Kilian - he's not too happy with too hot weather conditions. How long with Ohier hold on to the lead. If again, you're familiar with Zegama, you will know who I'm talking about. And actually as well, what's been on my mind is how many litters of Cidra will flow on Sunday night at the party??! Yes, we're getting there. How could I do a Zegama preview without mentioning the party on the Sunday night? Damn, where do I even start? That kind of party would make your student open bar full moon party look like the tea time of Buckingham Palace. Seriously, one year they partied so hard the roof fell off. True story. And even the legend says that for lack of a better word to describe the madness of this annual celebration, people simply say: Zegama is Zegama. Anyway, I'm sure there will be plenty to discuss all about that in our post race podcast, but that's it for now. It's a wrap for the Zegama pre race podcast. And the next step is the live coverage on Sunday. Zegama will indeed be covered live on Sunday in Spanish, Catalan and English.

And this is where you can watch it:

On Facebook, on the the GTS page, On Youtube, on the GTS official channel Directly on the Golden Trail Series website, If you want additional updates straight from the field, make sure to follow the GTWS Instagram account @goldentrailseries And remember to look out for our post Race Zegama podcast early next week with all of the action and reaction from Zegama. Thanks for joining me today on this very first episode of the Golden World Series podcast. If you've enjoyed this episode, you can like subscribe and leave up to a five star review on the Gold Trail Series podcast, w herever you get your podcast and tell your friends about it,. You can also leave us a comment on social media if you have specific requests or topics you would like to see discussed during the season. I'm your host, Martin GAFFURI and until next time, see ya!