There was a fragile silence in Zegama, a village buried in a hollow in the lush green mountains of the Basque Country – a silence soon to be shattered by pandemonium. For the past 18 years, one Sunday a year, Zegama is pulled out of it's quiet and becomes the center of the world’s maddest mountain race.
By 8 A.M., the sun is already heating the roads around the church, where many of the day’s competitors are also warming up. The tension is palpable. For many, this particular morning is the realization of a long-held dream. Unless you’re one of the world’s elite runners, getting a race number for Zegama can take up to a decade. In 2019, only 2% of the 10,000 people in the ballot got a place. It’s the race of a lifetime.
At 9 A.M. the trail running world holds its breath - they’re off! The 500 competitors stream out of the village and into the mountains. Zegama 2019 is underway.