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Valsir World Cup Preview 2022 Part 13: Zumaia Flysch Trail

With the end in sight, on the 2nd of October we have our last Long race of the season, Zumaia Flysch Trail in the Basque Country.

SMLflyschtrail2019 1 504Over 22km and 850m of climbing, the course first winds its way westward along the coast over short, punchy climbs. Travelling across the spectacular cliffs of the Basque Coast UNESCO Global Geopark, the race traces a line where the rich green of the hills meets the deep blue of the sea, the incredible geology adding an extra dimension to a race that is a real feast for the eyes. After 10km, the race takes a big swing inland and heads back towards Zumaia, taking the mirror of the outward course and crossing over itself several times as it loops out towards the coast and back inland.

On top of the incredible landscape, one of the big draws of Zumaia Flysch Trail must be the Basques' famous enthusiasm for sport, and for mountain running in particular. First or last, it doesn't matter; the crowds that gather on the course will give their loud support to every single athlete in the race. Basque Country racing is something every mountain runner should experience at least once.

The Basque weather is unpredictable and last year the marathon and the 22k, both World Cup counters, took place in torrential rain, making for very difficult, muddy conditions underfoot. In spite of that, the racing was fast, with many of the seasons best performers taking to the startline.

It was Kenyans first and second in the women's 22k race as Joyce Njeru took the win ahead of Lucy Murigi. An incredible 4th victory of the World Cup season, Njeru was now within touching distance of the overall title with just the final round at Chiavenna-Lagunc to go. Alice Gaggi took third, all but ensuring she would finish on the overall World Cup podium.

SMLflyschtrail2019 1 79In the men's race, Njeru's Team Run2gether teammate Geoffrey Ndungu found himself running stride for stride with Hungary's Sándor Szabó in the early stages, both runners fighting hard to cement their own positions in the World Cup's top three. Ultimately it was Ndungu who came out on top, pulling away in the second half to take a narrow victory, 1:36:48 to Sándor's 1:37:13. Third place went to the Basque Country's own Amets Aramberri.

In the marathon, Charlotte Morgan added another title to her Tatra Race Run and Canfranc-Canfranc Marathon victories, while Raul Criado took his first World Cup win after a number of podium finishes. You can find full results on the World Mountain Running Ranking.

Zumaia Flysch Trail is an easy race to get to. Donostia-San Sebastian is thirty minutes east and has excellent rail connections to a number of major cities, while Bilbao airport is an hour to the west.

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