(audio). ‘For me, this is the last race of the season and I am very glad to finish it this way, in shape and surrounded by all of you. This race means a lot to me because it follows the trails where I have been running since childhood and I feel very comfortable here,’ confessed Jornet after the race.
Jornet completed the race in 12:03:27 and, 8 minutes after him, Zaid Ait Malek crossed the finishing line, having tailed Jornet closely right up until the end of the race. Third position went to Miguel Heras. In fact, several athletes rotated leadership for much of the race, which made the race very entertaining. ‘I felt good from the start. We set out in a group, but then Zaid and I ran off and Miguel came after us. However, it was later, on the climb to Sant Jordi, when I managed to accelerate my pace a bit,’ said the champion.
The Cadí Natural Park has gone all out on the race and hundreds of onlookers cheered on the runners throughout: ‘The truth is that the weather has been kind to us but, also, it has been amazing! There were fans everywhere! We couldn’t run more than 2 km without meeting someone cheering us on,’ said Jornet.
Just eight minutes after Kilian Jornet’s arrival, Moroccan Zaid Ait Malek reached Bagà smiling. Lying on the ground and raising his arms in victory, Ait Malek explained: ‘I’ve had a difficult year and I have not been able to compete as much as I would have liked. Being second in a race like this is a great result and I'm very satisfied. Many thanks to everyone for their encouragement and for their help.’
Miguel Heras, who knows this race well and who has won it twice in the old circuit, completed the podium positions (audio). He commented on arrival: ‘Today I noticed that I was lacking a bit in fitness, but I'm happy to be back in Bagà. I hope to be 100% again in no time. I would like to dedicate this podium position to my daughter. It’s her birthday today and I could not be with her.’
Forsberg, Rai and Picas: a hotly contested podium
The race had three principal female competitors: Emelie Forsberg, Mira Rai and Núria Picas. The Swedish athlete came in first and achieved her first victory in the Ultra Pirineu, after being third in 2011. Forsberg, with a final time of 13:39:33, went through most checkpoints in first place, but always followed closely by the Nepalese and the Catalan athletes. ‘Running with Mira and Núria has been fun and I am very happy, but it has been quite a tough race,’ said Forsberg.
Rai, on her debut in the Cadí Moixeró race, achieved a fantastic second place, just four minutes later than the Scandinavian. The Nepalese runner also agreed with Emelie that it had been a very entertaining race and thanked the support of all the fans who cheered them on throughout the day.
The third athlete to get to the finishing line was the winner of the last four editions, Núria Picas. The athlete from Berga
was competing at home, and completed the race in 14:13:01 crossing the finishing line visibly excited. ‘The biggest prize for me is to have been able to run here today. I’ve done my best and it has been a pleasure to do it next to Mira and Emelie. A few weeks ago, I would not have imagined running alongside them or crossing Bellver with them. I thought I would no be able to run this race but a good friend of mine took me to the beach and convinced me I had to pull out the plug I had here inside. Being here today with you all is the best trophy,’ said Núria upon arrival.
Victories for Alfredo Gil and Oihana Kortazar in Marató Pirineu
Alfredo Gil achieved a victory in the men's category of a hotly contested Marató Pirineu. Up to four runners arrived in Martinet in groups, but Gil was the first to cross the finishing line with a time of 4:03:42. ‘We were all grouped together until the technical descent where we scattered a little. And the river was a key area, where everyone placed themselves where they should be. I wanted to take it easy and it worked out well,’ said Gil.
Second place went to Dani Cazalla, who arrived four minutes later (4:07:56). Toti Bes from Girona completed the third podium position (4:08:53).
In the women's category, the Basque runner Oihana Kortazar fulfilled the prediction as favourite and was the first to reach the finishing line in Bellver de Cerdanya (4:31:36) after leading the race from the very beginning. ‘I'm very happy. I felt good and I enjoyed it, which is the most important thing. It was a very good route for me because it had a very fast profile,’ said Kortazar after finishing the race. On podium positions were Eli Gordón (5:02:33) and Estelita Santín (5:36:02).