The toughest trail race of the season has kept all its promises! A fight was announced between the runners from Africa and the European trail runners. The confrontation took place and largely turned to the advantage of the Africans. Admittedly, this is not the first time that athletes from the continent have shone between Sierre and Zinal. We remember in particular Pietro Mamu (Eritrea) who has often performed in the Swiss Valais in his last years and who won 4th place this Saturday by overtaking Kilian Jornet on the line, then in full celebration with the crowd (5th ). But this Saturday, a new scenario unfolded in the Swiss mountains: African runners largely dominated the debates, placing five athletes in the top and three runners in the top 5.
“It was nice to see him leave with such ease. For my part, I was already struggling with cramps and I was forced to stay in control.
In front at the end of the long climb to Chandolin (1450m d +), Mark Kangogo managed to break away from a group of 7 riders, “It was nice to see him leave with such ease. For my part, I was already struggling with cramps and I was forced to stay in control.explains Kilian Jornet.
“We trained very hard with a group of runners, it’s really incredible this day”reacted Kangogo who, after 2h27 of effort, won at Zinal. Kangogo actually left very strong. So strong that many wondered if he would keep this hellish pace to the end: he was under Kilian Jornet’s passing times for a long time in 2019. The Kenyan ended up having to slow down. On the descent, he struggled to keep up the pace and ended up completely exhausted at the finish line. Collapsed but victorious.
Behind, the Spaniard, specialist in orienteering, Andreu Blanes Reig made an impressive comeback to pick up the Kenyan athletes in decline and finish 2nd. Patrick Kipngeno manages to stay on the podium. At the time of the accounts, it is a very fast edition of Sierre Zinal which we attended with all the podium under 2h30. And even if Kilian Jornet’s record has largely survived (Kangogo finished in 2h27 against 2H25 for Jornet in 2019), the three athletes on the podium, all unaccustomed to the trail running circuit, showed that on this very particular running profile they could dominate the debates.
Kilian Jornet is still expected for his big goal of the year, at the end of the month, in Chamonix, with the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc, which he has already won three times, after dominating the prestigious Hardrock 100 in July. (100 miles, about 160 km) in the United States.
Mathis 2e behind Esther
On the French side, the young Frenchman Anthony Felberg signed a remarkable performance by taking 12th place. Maude Mathys did not go far from a 4th victory in a row but had to settle for 2nd place without having managed to resume in the descent Chesang Esther, who started alone in the lead at the end of the first bump. The Kenyan has long been on the basis of Mathys’ record (2:49 in 2019), even with a lead of more than two minutes at the halfway mark. But as for his compatriot Kangogo, the end of the race was hard for the athlete. She finished in 2:52, just 30 seconds ahead of Mathys. Kisang Philiaries, another Kenyan, takes 3rd place. The first Frenchwoman, Mathilde Sagnes, finished 13th.