The first race of the inaugural Golden Trail Series was everything that trail running insiders predicted, with one of the most competitive men’s and women’s trail marathon fields ever assembled stepping to the starting line at the famed Zegama-Aizkori race in Spain’s beautiful Basque Country. And all of it was broadcasted live on Salomon’s running social media channels.

When the mud settled—and there was a lot of mud after several days of rain—it was a pair of Salomon athletes owning the day. On the men’s side, Switzerland’s Remi Bonnet bested an incredible field to win his first Zegama title. The 23-year-old accomplished a rare double by winning the Vertical Kilometer race on Friday afternoon as well. On the women’s side, Sweden’s Ida Nilsson built on her fantastic 2017 with another impressive win to kick off 2018.

The win leaves Bonnet and Nilsson in prime position for the next four races of the new Golden Trail Series, in which runners will amass points in an effort to qualify for the Grand Finale at the Otter Trail race in South Africa in October. The next Golden Trail Series race will be at the Marathon du Mont Blanc on July 1 in Chamonix, where another star-studded field will compete.

The Zegama-Aizkorri start line 2018

On the men’s side. Defending champ Stian Angermund-Vik from Norway took 2nd, Poland’s Bartlomiej Przedwojewski was 3rd, Switzerland’s Marc Lauenstein was 4th, Oriol Cardona Coll from Spain finished 5th, Max King of the U.S.A. was 6th and France’s Thibaut Baronian was 7th. Dynafit athlete

After not finishing in his first Zegama race two years ago, Bonnet seemed a surprise winner to many, given that he won the Vertical Kilometer crown two days earlier. But he didn’t seem to surprise himself.   

“I think there was less pressure this time than two years ago,” Bonnet said. “From journalists and everyone else. I was winning a lot of races the year before my first Zegama and that was my first marathon and people were talking like I would beat Kilian (Jornet) and I was thinking, ‘I don’t know if I will finish the race.’ This year, it was really quiet and I could just focus on running.”

Remi Bonnet 2018 Zegama Champion – Philipp Reiter

Winning the Vertical K race on Friday was a confidence booster for the young Swiss, who said the victory left him feeling good for the marathon on Sunday. “You are more confident after a win and everyone else probably thought I would be tired,” Bonnet said.

“At the 13 km mark there was a small downhill and I pushed a bit there and saw that no one followed me,” he explained. “Then there was a climb of 500 meters after that so I pushed hard and at the summit, I was three minutes ahead. Then it was just about pushing to the end. On downhills I was a bit scared I’d be caught by Marc and Stian, but the lead held up.”

On the women’s side, Nilsson has been on a tear, winning races around the globe in the last year. In Zegama, she trailed Spain’s Laura Orgue up the famed Sancti Spiritu climb, then made her move at the 30km mark. She ended up winning by nearly seven minutes. Orgue, a fellow Salomon athlete running her very first Zegama, held off a strong women’s field to finish second in front of a vocal, supportive Spanish crowd. Scott Sports athlete Ruth Croft was third.

Ida Nillson 2018 Zegama Champion – Philipp Reiter

Salomon Broadcasts Zegama Race Live on Social Media Channels

For the first time in Salomon’s history, the entire Zegama race was broadcasted in real-time on Salomon Running’s social media channels. This feat was made possible by working with newly-established live stream platform StageTen and with the ongoing support of Basque National TV, who provided Salomon with access to their own private camera feeds.

With Salomon brand ambassadors from Spain stationed along the entire 42km course, the broadcast was able to capture incredible live imagery that was then relayed to a temporary Salomon studio at the finish line for live mixing.

Throughout the five-hour long broadcast, injured Salomon athlete Kilian Jornet gave insightful analysis of what was transpiring on the course. Salomon Running’s social community was extremely engaged in the broadcast and Jornet answered questions from viewers throughout the day. Jornet will likely give up his analyst role and return to action at the next Golden Trail Series race in Chamonix at the end of June, provided he is fully recovered from the broken leg he suffered in a winter ski-mo race.    

Zegama has the BEST SUPPORTERS of the Golden Trail Series – Jordi Saragossa

For Golden Trail Series Female and Male Top 30 – please visit the RESULTS page

Laura Orgue climbing the famous Sancti Spiritu – Jordi Saragossa
Golden Trail Series Top 5 Women – Jordi Saragossa
Golden Trail Series Top 5 Men – Jordi Saragossa
Zegama = Mud Running – Philipp Reiter