Race Summary for Stage 6 HERE
An incredible day exploring the sights, sounds, colours and meeting the people of Kathmandu. What an incredible place.
Located at the top of a hill, our day started with a visit to Swayambhunath (affectionately known as the Monkey Temple).
Swayambhunath (Devanagari: स्वयम्भूनाथ स्तुप; sometimes romanized Swoyambhunath) is an ancient religious complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. The Tibetan name for the site means ‘Sublime Trees’ (Wylie:Phags.pa Shing.kun), for the many varieties of trees found on the hill. However, Shing.kun may be a corruption of the local Nepal Bhasa name for the complex, Singgu, meaning ‘self-sprung’. For the Buddhist Newars in whose mythological history and origin myth as well as day-to-day religious practice, Swayambhunath occupies a central position, it is probably the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites. For Tibetans and followers of Tibetan Buddhism, it is second only to Boudhanath.
The Swayambhunath complex consists of a stupa, a variety of shrines and temples, some dating back to the Licchavi period. A Tibetan monastery, museum and library are more recent additions. The stupa has Buddha’s eyes and eyebrows painted on. Between them, the number one (in Devanagari script) is painted in the fashion of a nose. There are also shops, restaurants and hostels. The site has two access points: a long stairway with 365 steps, leading directly to the main platform of the temple, which is from the top of the hill to the east; and a car road around the hill from the south leading to the southwest entrance. The first sight on reaching the top of the stairway is the Vajra. Tsultrim Allione describes the experience:
We were breathless and sweating as we stumbled up the last steep steps and practically fell upon the biggest vajra (thunder-bolt scepter) that I have ever seen. Behind this vajra was the vast, round, white dome of the stupa, like a full solid skirt, at the top of which were two giant Buddha eyes wisely looking out over the peaceful valley which was just beginning to come alive.
Much of Swayambhunath’s iconography comes from the Vajrayana tradition of Newar Buddhism. However, the complex is also an important site for Buddhists of many schools, and is also revered by Hindus.
From Swayambhunath we took a short bus ride and then walked around the vibrant streets of Kathmandu. It’s a cacophany of noise mixed with people, cars and colour. The people are warm, welcoming, happy and friendly despite obvious poverty that is on display no matter where you look.
Kathmandu (Nepali: काठमाडौं [kɑʈʰmɑɳɖu]; Nepal Bhasa: येँ देय्) is the capital and largest municipality of Nepal. It is the only city of Nepal with the administrative status of Mahanagarpalika (Metropolitan City), as compared to Up-Mahanagarpalika (Sub-Metropolitan City) or Nagarpalika (Municipality). Kathmandu is the core of Nepal’s largest urban agglomeration located in the Kathmandu valley consisting of Lalitpur, Kirtipur, Madhyapur Thimi, Bhaktapur and a number of smaller communities. Kathmandu is also known informally as “KTM” or the “tri-city”. According to the 2011 census, Kathmandu has a population of close to 1 million people. The municipal area is 50.67 square kilometres (19.56 sq mi) and has a population density of 3000per km² and 17000 per km square in city.
The city stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley of central Nepal. It is surrounded by four major mountains: Shivapuri, Phulchoki, Nagarjun, and Chandragiri. Kathmandu Valley is part of three districts (Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur), has the highest population density in the country, and is home to about a twelfth of Nepal’s population.
Historically, the Kathmandu Valley and adjoining areas were known as Nepal Mandala. Until the 15th century, Bhaktapur was its capital when two other capitals, Kathmandu and Lalitpur, were established. During the Rana and Shah eras, British historians called the valley itself “Nepal Proper”. Today, Kathmandu is not only the capital of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, but also the headquarters of the Bagmati Zone and the Central Development Region of Nepal.
Kathmandu is the gateway to tourism in Nepal. It is also the hub of the country’s economy. It has the most advanced infrastructure of any urban area in Nepal, and its economy is focused on tourism, which accounted for 3.8% of Nepal’s GDP in 1995–96. Tourism in Kathmandu declined thereafter during a period of political unrest, but since then has improved. In 2013, Kathmandu was ranked third among the top 10 travel destinations on the rise in the world by TripAdvisor, and ranked first in Asia.
The city has a rich history, spanning nearly 2000 years, as inferred from inscriptions found in the valley. Religious and cultural festivities form a major part of the lives of people residing in Kathmandu. Most of Kathmandu’s people follow Hinduism and many others follow Buddhism. There are people of other religious beliefs as well, giving Kathmandu a cosmopolitan culture. Nepali is the most commonly spoken language in the city. English is understood by Kathmandu’s educated residents. Content ©wikipedia
Tomorrow, Tuesday 12th is an early start as we all leave Kathmandu and head to Jiri for an overnight camp and then the race starts Wednesday.
Stage 1 – Preview
Km 0. Departure from campsite with initial direction 150o. Follow main pathway that crosses Bhandar. At the end of the village, cross the wooden covered bridge, turn left immediately and followmainpathwayparalleltotheriver (maintaineddescenttillKm3,7).
Km 1,04. Take footpath on the right and go down crossing several times the main pathway. Km 3,7 (1.523 m). Turn right crossing the bridge (maintained ascent till Km 9,8).
Km 9,8. Arrival to the pass that leads to the Golla village (Gompa). Take the footpath on the left that leads to the village exit and to the CP2.
Km 10 CP2 . Come out following the path on the right. Terrain combining flat sections and slight ups and downs till Km 12.
Km 12. Take the detour on the left and follow the marked path. Maintained climbing inside the forest till Km 13,5 where we reach a hill with flags. Follow marked pathway inside the forest.
Km 16,9 (3625 m.). Find a clearing and enter again the forest with direction 170o. Follow marked pathway.
Km17. Anewclearing. Initialdirection150otillenteragaintheforest.
Km17,5(3.772m.).Comeout oftheforest.Followmarkedpathandturnleftafterfewmeters to start climb to the Pike Peak (4.065 m). Follow marked path. We will identify the summit because of the prayer flags.
Km 19,5 CP3. Reach the Pike Peak summit. Go down the marked path till a Many Wall (3.989 m). Take marked path on the left. Go down along a technical zone. CAUTION!.
Km 21,5. (3.950 m). Clearing. Turn left and go on till pass with Mani Wall (3.500 m). Km 23,7 (3.783 m). Pass by a group of 3 chorten and follow pathway. Km26,5(3.265m).Turnleft crossingtheriver.Followmarks.Km 28. Taktur.
I am very honoured and flattered to be interviewed by corredordemontana.com in an article titled – Ian Corless: El fotógrafo de Skyrunning.
You can read the full interview in Spanish HERE
For my English speaking friends and followers. Here is a transcript in English.
Tells us about how you got involved with Skyrunning reporting
I was invited to Transvulcania La Palma in 2012. The ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) invited media specialists from all over the world to witness what turned out to be a turning point for Skyrunning. It was a key moment. World-class athletes travelled from all over the world and in doing so created what turned out to be a classic race. It elevated Skyrunning to a new level and certainly placed Transvulcania on the ‘to do’ list of many runners.
How long have you been at it now?
I started to work with the ISF as a media partner after Transvulcania in 2012. I went to Zegama-Aizkorri and then followed this by attending many (but not all) Skyrunner® World Series events in 2012. In 2013 I attended most races on the calendar. As you know, the Skyrunner® World Series is made up of five races in each of the categories – VK, SKY and ULTRA. In 2014 I continued this format working on pretty much the whole calendar with the exception of the two races in the USA.
What exactly do you do? Does it take up all your time or do you combine your Skyrunning photography with other jobs?
I work freelance in the world of ultra, mountain and trail running. I work on many other projects and not just Skyrunning. For example in 2014 I worked on The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, Marathon des Sables in Morocco and this month I go to Nepal for Everest Trail Race and then South Africa for the Salomon SkyRun. I have a very busy calendar and at my last count, I will have worked on thirty-one races in 2014. Depending on what my clients require will very much depend on what services I provide, however, it usually consists of writing and photography to help promote a race and provide feedback for the ultra, trail and mountain running community worldwide. In addition to all this, I have my podcast, Talk Ultra which is available every two weeks for free on iTunes and via my website.
Your opinion of the state of Skyrunning in 2014 and how things might develop next season
Skyrunning has grown incredibly over the past few years. We have all witnessed the boom! The vision of Lauri van Houten and Marino Giacometti is certainly coming to fruition. They had a vision of what Skyrunning may be… risks taken in 2012 at Transvulcania have paid off. However, many forget that Skyrunning dates back to 1989 when Giacometti first ascended the Monte Rosa. I most definitely believe they were ahead of the time. We are all just catching up… I also believe that Kilian Jornet has been an incredible vehicle for the sport, His rise and dominance has coincided with the growth in Skyrunning.
You will notice that the 2015 Skyrunning calendar has recently been announced and we see some changes. In addition the Skyrunner® World Series we now have the Continental Series. This shows how the sport is growing and how the ISF needs to appeal to a worldwide audience. It’s very exciting.
Any amazing anecdotes to tell from last season?
I am very fortunate to spend a great deal of time working with, photographing and talking to some of the best athletes in the world. I truly feel blessed. I have so many great memories and moments. If I had to pick one surreal moment, I think back to Matterhorn Ultraks. Kilian Jornet didn’t run the race but decided to take photographs and support his Salomon teammates. I had climbed just over 1000m vertical to get to a location that would allow me to photograph runners as they came to me with the Matterhorn in the background. I waited for hours, photographed all the front-runners and I was about to make my way down the long descent to make my way to the finish when I received a text from Kilian asking:
‘Are you making your way down?’
I replied, ‘yes!’
‘I will wait for you,’ Kilian said.
I added my cameras to my large pack (it weighs about 10-12kg) and then I made my way to the long and technical descent. After 10-minutes or so, I saw Kilian waiting. We then ran all the way down to the finish… it was ridiculous. I was following the best mountain runner and definitely the best downhill runner in the world with a huge pack and trying to keep up. However, Kilian was extremely kind and ran well within himself. I however was at my limit! But to follow and see his ability first hand was a highlight of the year.
Do you plan to be present at all ISF race events next season?
The calendar for 2015 is larger as we now have the World Series and the Continental Series, so, it will not be possible to attend all events. However, I will hopefully attending as many as possible and following the series as it unfolds.
How do the logistics work out when you travel to new race locations & have to discover where you need to be for your photos?
It is all about preparation. I usually arrive at a race venue two days before the race. I do my research. I look at maps, talk to staff and race officials and then I plan where I want to be to capture the best images. Longer races are easier as they allow me more flexibility. By contrast, a race like Limone Extreme is just over 2-hours from start to the first finisher, so you need to be 100% prepared. A real plus is that I am able to fulfill my passions for the sport in photography, words and podcasting but also get some exercise. I usually have to climb or hike to many of the locations I work from. Occasionally we are spoilt with a helicopter but that does not happen very often! Trofeo Kima is a perfect example where myself and other photographers/ cameramen are transported all over the course by helicopter. Kima or me is still a favourite race, it is so extreme and visually stunning.
Do you always find the right place to get decent pictures at races? Does it ever not quite work out?
Yes, I always ensure that I am in the correct place. That is my job. However, I may not always get ‘the’ image I want. It is what is so great about our sport and what I do. Nothing is guaranteed and I work on adrenaline to help me maximize my potential.
Tell us about your unfortunate “incident” at the Transvulcania 2014.
2014 has been an interesting year with a couple of incidents that I hope don’t happen again…
In May at Transvulcania La Palma I had photographed the race start and then I was making my way to the mountains to a location I had found to photograph the front-runners. On the coastal road I felt my car twitch and then I lost control. I veered to the right and lost control. A huge concrete block stopped me going over the edge. I was not going too fast but the car was completely written off. I jumped out of the car with no personal damage. I was so lucky! My first priority was that I needed to get to the mountains…
Later in the year I had a second incident. I was in Barcelona transferring to go to a race in Catalonia. I was at a restaurant and I had ALL my camera equipment and computer stolen. It was horrendous as you can imagine. My whole life in my bag: gone! It was a pretty tough two weeks that followed and my insurance only covered two thirds of the cost of all the stolen items. However, I managed to replace everything.
Set against one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring backdrops on the planet, the Everest Trail Race is one of the world’s toughest high-altitude ultra-marathons. I had the pleasure to attend the 2013 event and I am pleased to say, I am going back…
My job affords me some great opportunities and all of them are special and unique in so many ways. However, Nepal, the Himalayas, the people and the amazing trails that lead to the stunning vistas of Everest and AmaDablam from Tyangboche are some of the most memorable moments I have ever had. I was told Nepal would change me and it did. It’s a cacophony of sound, visuals and emotions and the opportunity to experience this one more time is something extra special.
From the noisy and frenetic streets of Kathmandu to the isolation of camping under the stars at the monastery at Kharikhola, Nepal and its people cemented itself within my heart and I know that participants of the 2014 ETR are in for a very special experience.
Winding through the remote Solukhumbu region of the Himalayas in Nepal, the ETR takes place over six punishing days and covers a distance of 160-km with over 25,000m of vertical gain.
Terrain is mixed and the daily distances are roughly 22, 28, 30, 31, 20 and 22 km respectively. Daily altitude gain starts 3,000 meters up to 5,950. It’s a breathtaking route that starts in Jiri.
Participants will experience breath-taking views of not only one, but also several of the world’s tallest mountains: Everest, Lothse, AmaDablam, Tamseku, Kangtega, Makalu and Kanchenjunga. On the fifth day, arriving at Tyangboche the Himalayan backdrop is magnificent providing a wonderful boost before returning to Lukla via Namche Bazaar.
The race does require a degree of self-sufficiency. Participants must carry all the personal technical equipment they will need to survive – a sleeping bag, warm clothes plus the mandatory safety equipment laid out in the race rules. Temperatures may rise to 18°C and drop -10°C at night, is is part of the challenge!
In fact, the race is a test for both runners and the race organization as the area is only accessible by foot. Snacks, meals and water are provided both along the route and in the camps at the end of each stage.
“You reach the highest point of the day and you are breathing hard, short shallow breaths. You think you must stop, that you can’t go on, but then you settle into a sustainable rhythm. Your body is adapting to the workload, to the altitude and with that realization you feel a rush of empowerment that motivates you to run right past the foot of Everest.”
- 9th November – Travel to Kathmandu
- 10th November – Kathmandu
- 11th November – Sight seeing in Kathmandu
- 12th November – Transfer to Jiri
Race dates 13th – 17th November.
As an example of what lies beyond the starting line, the longest single stage in 2012 was 20 miles (31km). Typical distances are broken down as follows:
Day 1 – 22 km (+ 850 m ascent)
Day 2 – 28 km (+ 2,250 m ascent)
Day 3 – 30 km (+ 2,450 m ascent)
Day 4 – 31 km (+ 2,950 m ascent)
Day 5 – 20 km (+ 1,450 m ascent)
Day 6 – 22 km (+ 450 m ascent)
The actual routes and formats change every year. The Race Director, Jordi Abad and his team spend a month meticulously planning routes that are made public before the event starts.
Competitors camp overnight in two-man tents provided by the ETR. The tents are transported stage-by-stage and await the runners at the end of each day. Meals are provided each night in a large food tent. It provides a wonderful and most memorable sound each evening as the sound of weary laughter echoes around camp.
Schedule (from 2013)
Day 1 – Departing Jiri at 0900 runners will cover 21.5km and two major peaks, Mali at just over 2400m and Deurali Pass (2700m) at approximately 18km.
Day 2 – Leaving Bhandar, non-stop climbing follows a short 4km descent; firstly to Gompa (Golla) at 3010m, a small downhill section follows of 2km and then a climb to Pikey Peak at 4068m. It’s a tough-tough day and the sting in the tail comes at the very end with a very short and steep ascent to Jase Bhajyang. Total stage distance 23.92km.
Day 3 – Jase Bhanjyang to Kharikhola 37.4km
Stage 3 is all about running downhill, however, the finish is brutal ascent to Kharikola at 2100m. Leaving Jase Bhanjyang runners have a short ascent of 2km to 3800m and then an 8km descent to Jumbesi, CP1. A 6km climb to just over 3000m is then followed with a 4km descent to Lharpa and CP2. Another 3km climb to 3000m and then a brutal leg-sapping drop from 3000m to 1500m in 10km before the final sting in the tail, a 3km climb to the finish.
Day 4 – Kharikhola to Llegada 27.5km
Departing the monastery a small descent awaits the runners of just 4km before a long tough climb to Kari La (CP1) at 2900m. From here the course goes up and down all around 2700/2800m for approximately 10km before a very steep descent to CP2 at Surke (2200m). A continual climb to CP3 at Cheplung continues to the arrival at Phakding/ Llegaga.
Day 5 – Phakding to Llegada 20km
Leaving Phakding at 2600m runners will only gain 200m in the first 8km. CP1 Namche Bazar is at 10km (3400m). Phunki Tenga at 17.5km (3300m) now will offer the runners the most spectacular views of Everest and the other 8000m peaks. This sight will spur them on for the kick in the tail; the 2km climb from 3300m to 3700m and the finish at Tyangboche.
The final stage of the ETR re traces much of the same ground of Day-5 but (obviously) in the opposite direction. The main difference comes after Phakding when the trail splits and participants go left climbing to the finish in Lukla.
Flying out of Lukla on day 7, all participants and staff return to Kathmandu for an opportunity to relax before returning home after a stunning awards and closing ceremony.
View my Everest Trail Race photo galleries HERE
Race website UK – HERE
Race website Global – HERE
Trail Magazin (Germany) on the 2013 edition available HERE
Like the Wind (edition 2) Purchase HERE
2015 calendar is now available to pre order.
Delivery will be guaranteed the first week of December.
The calendar has highlights from a great 2014 racing season and includes images of ISF president, Marino Giacometti, Maite Maiora, Stevie Kremer, Jo Meek, Marco De Gasperi, Luis Alberto Hernando, Emelie Forsberg, Zaid Ait Malek, Martin Gaffuri, Kilian Jornet, Francois D’Haene and Anna Frost.
Cost will be £20.00 inc post and package within UK.
(An additional £5.00 for postage outside UK.)
To pre order, please fill in this request form, importantly, please specify postage within UK or outside UK. You will receive an invoice via Paypal.
Payments are accepted via debit card, credit card or Paypal account.
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All good things must come to an end… at least for this year! The 2014 Skyrunner® World Series concludes this weekend in the mountains that surround Lake Garda.
On Friday the VK will commence as the light fades and darkness surrounds the mountains. Sunday the SKY race takes place over a course of 23.5km’s and 2000m +/-. Two races, one great weekend of running and at conclusion we will have newly crowned male and female Skyrunner® World Series champions for both VK and SKY distances.
As one would expect, these two races are attracting a who’s who of the Skyrunning world.
In the VK, La Sportiva and Salomon are fielding two very strong teams. Illuminated by the glow of head torches, a very interesting battle will unfold.
Urban Zemmer is the outright favourite after winning Limone Extreme in 2013 and in the process winning the Skyrunner® World Series. However, La Sportiva teammates, Nejc Kuhar, Nadir Maguet, Marco Facchinhelli and Marco Moletto will be looking to pull rank and gain valuable points.
Kilian Jornet has been training hard and as we all know, can never be ruled out when it comes to head-to-head racing uphill. Add to the mix, Marco De Gasperi and Thorbjorn Ludvigsen and the Limone Extreme VK looks set to be a classic.
For the ladies, 2013 Skyrunner® World Series champion, Laura Orgue, like Zemmer is the outright favourite. This lady has been unbeatable uphill in 2013 and I don’t think Limone will be any different.
Stevie Kremer will push and push and look to gain an advantage as will Christel Dewalle, Antonella Confortla, Emelie Forsberg, Sara Longoni, Francesca Rossi, Beatrice Delflorian and surprise entrant, Julia Bleasdale. Julia is an exciting prospect from the UK and I am extremely keen to see how this Olympian performs.
Do you want to bet against Kilian Jornet? No, me neither. Kilian has excelled in 2014 and other than placing 2nd to Luis Alberto Hernando at Transvulcania; the Catalan has won every rave (VK’s excluded). Kilian has been training hard and Limone will see one chapter close for 2014 before the transition to skis and another Summit attempt in December.
Marco De Gasperi if fit is potentially the one person to push Kilian all the way to the line and if firing on all cylinders, may well take the glory away from the Salomon runner. I personally have waited all year for this head-to-head to happen and the prospect is exciting.
Waiting in the wings is a plethora of Skyrunning talent who will be looking to upset the apple cart and history shows that anything can happen.
Manuel Merillas is hot property at the moment and after strong performances in the Skyrunner® World Series, his presence at Limone adds an exciting element to proceedings. Recent top-3 performances at Trofeo Kima and The Rut add weight to a very strong case that we see a surprise on the shores of Lake Garda.
Ionut Zinca had a great result at Limone last year and recently placed well, once again at Dolomites Skyrace. I would anticipate Ionut having a great race, he’s a fierce competitor and top performer.
Zaid Ait Malek won the Matterhorn Ultraks and is without doubt a contender for the podium at Limone. However, Aritz Egea has performed consistently all year and at just under 24km’s, the Limone course plays to his strengths.
Alex Nichols is one again making the long journey from the USA and has great potential to mix it with the best, however, 2014 has been a tough year and his current form is unknown.
Tadei Pivk will also be a hot contender for the top-5.
Did we say THIS FIELD IS STACKED…. !
Rounding out the hot contenders for the top-5 places are Jono Wyatt, Alexis Sevennec, Thorbjorn Ludvigsen, David Schneider and Nicola Golinelli.
Look out for:
- Didier Zago
- Matheo Jaquemond
- Fabio Bazzana
- Florian Reichert
- Oli Johnson
- Gary Priestley
- Hassan Ait Chau
- Marco Moletto
- Marc Pinsach
Stevie Kremer already has the 2014 Skyrunner® World Series sewn up, so, this will take the pressure off and allow Stevie a trouble and stress free run. As we all know though, she probably will still nail it and has every chance of taking away the victory.
Elisa Desco, Emelie Forsberg and Laura Orgue will do everything in their respective powers to ensure that Stevie does not have another victory. In all honesty, the ladies race is wide open. Laura Orgue has displayed pure class going up hill and certainly, the first half of the Limone course will suit her racing style. I expect to see Laura to be leading at the summit; the question will come if she can hold of the charging train of Forsberg, Desco and Kremer. Very few ladies can go downhill like Emelie Forsberg and if she is in contact during the 2nd half of the race, Emelie will potentially take top honours.
Elisa Desco is a very rounded athlete uphill and downhill, at 23.5kms the distance will suit the Italian and with valuable points at stake, we can expect a 100% committed effort for victory.
Maite Maiora started the year with a bang at Transvulcania and has continued to bang the drum all the way throughout 2014. For sure, Maite stepped up a level this year and along with Desco, Forsberg and Kremer, she has been a force to be reckoned with. The podium is a distinct possibility but it’s going to be a battle.
Victoria Wilkinson had a great race at the Dolomites Skyrace and has continued to excel on the UK Fell running scene. The podium may just be out of reach but top-5 is a distinct possibility.
Anna Lupton has been missed in 2014 with injury. Arguably, Anna has been the UK’s most consistent performer in previous Skyrunning events and it’s great to see her back on a start line.
Tessa Hill has been a little quiet in 2014 but has committed herself to Limone and has recently posted, ‘My main way of preparing for this is to get as much climb in the legs as possible and then top things up on the bike.’
Julia Bleasdale is a British Olympian who raced the 5000m and 10,000m at the London Olympics. She placed 8th in both finals. Julia tipping her toes into the Skyrunning world is a great boost for the sport and Skyrunning in the UK. However, Julia understands the challenge ahead, “I hear so many great things about Skyrunning, but I do not underestimate the strength required to compete in this extreme discipline! So I am delighted to mix things up at the end of the season for variety. I love running in the mountains as they give you depth in your strength, but track athletes cannot transform themselves in just a few weeks to be ready for this!”
Stephanie Jiminez excels at the Sky distance and Limone will suit the skill set of the Salomon athlete. Her experience sets her apart from the competition and on her day, she can beat the best in the world.
Ones to watch:
- Deborah Cardone
- Elisabet Beltran
- Marta Molist
- Paloma Lobera
- Anna Kosova
- Azara Garcia
- Leire Agirrezabala
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WE HAVE 2-COPIES of KILIAN JORNET‘s book RUN or DIE to giveaway.
(With luck, I may be able to get these books signed by Kilian himself at LimoneExtreme.)
In association with Penguin Books, the UK publisher of RUN or DIE we have 2-copies of Kilian’s book to giveaway.
We are delighted to announce the book has just been longlisted for the 2014 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. We believe it’s the first book about ultra and trail running to receive a nomination (it’s normally lots of books about football and cycling!).
RUN or DIE is a captivating read and we hope it will inspire more mainstream books on the subject. The wider public deserves to know about the sport!
The book can be purchased on Amazon HERE
If you would like to be in with a chance of winning, you need to ‘share’ this post on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter (use the buttons below) and add a comment (below) in answer to this question (we will select 2-people and notify in due course):
‘What was Kilian’s time in hours, minutes and seconds for his Matterhorn Summit?’
Kilian Jornet is defining our sport and in the process is setting new records and providing inspiration to thousands, if not millions of people. Just 12-months ago, I spoke to Kilian in Zermatt. It was just days after his incredible Matterhorn Summit where he set a new record for Cervinia-Matterhorn Summit-Cervinia beating the long standing Bruno Brunod record. Looking relaxed, Kilian joins me at a table and we chat. He looks lean and in the form of his life. The sky is blue and clouds are around the base of the Matterhorn. Looking up we pause and take it in.
Interview in Spanish HERE
It really is an incredible mountain. I turn to Kilian and ask…
IC – Do you feel nostalgic Kilian, looking up at the Matterhorn and thinking back 12-months?
KJ – Yes, I have great feelings. I-year ago I climbed from Italy (Cervinia) and today I climbed it from Switzerland (Zermatt). I have many great friends in Cervinia and very soon it will be 150-years of the Matterhorn. So many great memories; It’s such a beautiful memory.
IC – Okay, so you have just thrown this on me. You climbed the Matterhorn this morning from Zermatt?
KJ – Yes (laughs) I am not racing Matterhorn Ultraks so it’s okay. I went this morning… I was thinking to myself, it’s great weather so I decided to go. Conditions are not good though. The mountain has much more snow and the ridge was pretty icy. I had no crampons, which was a big mistake. At the summit it was very windy. I thought I might take the quick way down to Zermatt…!
IC – People say the Matterhorn is harder from Switzerland side?
KJ – The Italians say it’s harder from Cervinia and the Swiss say it’s harder from Zermatt. (He laughs) Both routes are very similar. I prefer the Italian side, it’s a narrow ridge about 500m long and you can really run. From Switzerland you go straight to the summit. It’s really beautiful and maybe a little more complicated. For me though, the Italian side is more difficult.
IC – Did you time yourself?
KJ – Hotel to hotel was 7-hours. I had planned to go down to the Italian side and come back via the pass. But the conditions were very windy and I decided to come back on the Switzerland side. It had lots of snow all the way up. I can normally climb up in good conditions in 2.5hrs but today it was 4-hours.
IC – Not the perfect time for a FKT?
KJ – No, it was really dangerous. Normally I would see 100’s of people at the summit. Today it was just me and I saw 4-people on my way down. The weather would be okay for Mont-Blanc but not here; it’s much more complicated.
IC – I think it’s topical we are speaking mid season. I believe the Kilian Jornet today is a different person to 1-year ago. For me, you seem to be in perfect shape. I don’t think I have seen you so fit and strong. Would you agree?
KJ – This year I feel really well. I don’t know why? I started the season in Colorado in the winter doing plenty of high altitude meters. I was great in the ski season. It was my best season in regard to my condition. I was not tired after skiing so it was a big bonus. I have raced the same number of races but I seem to be recovering so much better. I am climbing more meters and doing fewer kilometres.
IC – It’s not unusual for you to start your run season at Transvulcania La Palma on 4-5 days running. This year you did this. You had a great race placing 2nd behind Luis. You then went to Denali and followed this with running again becoming Skyrunning World Champion. In Denali, this is not ultra running. It’s Alpinism. So tell us, what was the experience like?
KJ – It was a hard experience and fun. The weather was bad in Alaska. We stayed 21-days in the glacier and we had 3 sunny days. Everyday was snowing but we did a great number of things. We travelled very light. We would go to 4000m camp and from here everyday we would do something… we did the west ridge and then ski, we did another ridge, then I did the record, the north summit and so on. It was really nice to see. It’s possible to do something everyday. It was really interesting. I think I was surprised to come back to Chamonix and perform so well. Really I was just going to use it as training for Hardrock. In the VK I surpassed my expectation, in the marathon I knew I could do well. I lost weight in Denali.
IC – Yes for sure. You lost weight and your legs seemed smaller. Did it feel unusual to be back in Chamonix feeling like a different person?
KJ – Yes, I had small legs. It is similar to after Alpinism. It’s good for going up but coming down it has its affects.
IC – Denali unlike the Matterhorn was very much about you going and doing it. We haven’t seen the new Summits film yet, so, what did Denali involve?
KJ – It’s Skimo. You go via the plane to Anchorage and then take anther small plane to the glacier. It’s snow all the way. We didn’t take run shoes. We just used skis everyday. We had planned to acclimatize but the weather cleared and I made an attempt on the 6th day. I may have not been adapted but I was still strong. If you stay at altitude you loose strength. I had good conditions for 3-hours but the last uphill section and all the downhill had bad conditions. It was snowing and foggy. I just hoped that I could complete the summit. I added more clothes and pushed on.
IC – How do you prepare for an event like this? Do you do extensive research beforehand on maps? You make it sound casual and matter of fact but I know it’s not.
KJ – You need to be really well prepared. It’s a dangerous mountain. I looked at maps and we planned ahead, not only for the record but other adventures. I made good preparation 2-weeks before. We did 3-days to base camp and did the west ridge and ski down. It was good to see the conditions, find out what the snow was like and see if I could ski fast from the summit. You need to open your mind.
It was great to have a small team. We were 4-people: Seb Montaz, Jordi Tosas, Vivian Bruchez and me. It’s really quick to change plans and make decisions with a small set up. For example in 5-hours I decided to attempt the record. Everyone was ready; they all knew what they had to do. It was great. Also, the team had projects that each wanted to do. All 4 of us had aspirations to achieve things whilst in Alaska.
IC – That is what is so interesting about what you do. You have very experienced people with you. In particular, Seb, he’s a great mountaineer and cameraman. We often forget he is often doing what you are doing.
KJ – For sure. You either have a small team or a big team with multiple people, helicopters, and many cameramen. The problem is budget! For example, all our team can work independently and they can all film, even myself. I like this process. We all move in the mountain, they are happy alone and that is great. We all captured images of each other.
IC – That is going to be great to see. You followed Denali with Hardrock 100.
KJ – Three years of waiting!
IC – Yes, you got the confirmation in 2013. We all had expectations and excitement. You were racing really strong competition, Adam Campbell, Joe Grant, Seb Chaigneau, Dakota Jones, Julien Chorier and so on. You had a remarkable day; you smashed the course record. I know from pervious chats that you wasted lots of time. What was the experience like, did it live up to expectations?
KJ – It’s a beautiful race. I have run several 100-mile races and this is the best. The ambiance, the course, the spirit, it was just amazing. I arrived 1-week before and I checked all the last 100km so that I was prepared. I knew I would be in this section at night. I didn’t know the early section; I didn’t check it at all. We all started together; Seb, Adam, Timmy, Dakota and Julien. We had a big group. I felt good from the beginning. Having said that, you always feel good early. It’s just moving. After 4-5 hours I wasn’t pushing but I was pulling away. I thought to myself, maybe I will have a good day but I wanted to be cautious for the latter stages of the race. So, I waited for Julien and then I ran to km 100 with him and then the night started. After this point, I knew the course so I decided to go. It could take 9-hours if I was feeling good. I hadn’t eaten much up to this point so from here I took energy from soup and burritos. It was also really bad weather with rain and storms. I was happy to take a little time in the aid stations.
IC – I think you were lucky and got ahead of the worst of the storms. For example Adam Campbell had a crazy time.
KJ – Yes, this is what can happen, Handies Peak is at 4800m and 30km between aid stations, so, you are on your own. If a storm comes they don’t stop the race. You need to know what to do. If you are afraid, you stop and find shelter until the storm passes. Runners need to think and that is a good thing. We all need to think what to carry and what to do.
IC – You had Frosty (Anna Frost) and Ricky Gates as pacers. What point did they pace you?
KJ – Ricky started at 100km for the first part of the night section from Sharman. He ran around 35-40km with me. In the second part it was crazy rain. We were so cold and wet. He stopped. I continued for 10-miles alone and then met Frosty for the last 10-miles.
IC – At any point did you have the course record in mind?
KJ – Yes, you have it in your mind but I don’t race for records. I like racing a great deal. I do lots of races. My priority was to win if possible and I was also thinking of the Dolomites 1-week later…
KJ – I said okay, I am doing well but don’t try to get tired! I was 20-min ahead of the record and I knew that Kyle Skaggs exploded in the latter stages when he set the record. So, if I kept my pace I knew the record was possible.
IC – As winner, you are the only male with a guaranteed place for next year. Will you be back?
KJ – Yes, for sure as it alternates direction each year.
IC – The two races are different, lets forget next year. Given what you have learnt this year, if you went back in 2-years, with what you now know. Of course weather dependant. Do you think you could make big differences to the time?
KJ – Weather is crucial and of course the feelings. Some days you feel great, like a cloud. You can’t predict these days. I had one of these days at the Matterhorn and certainly Hardrock. For sure I could go faster. I stopped 56-minutes in aid stations.
IC – And you waited for Julien 20-mins?
KJ – Yes, I think 1-hour quicker is possible should all things align.
IC – You came back from Hardrock and surprisingly raced at Dolomites Skyrace in the VK and SkyRace just days later.
KJ – I was happy about the VK. I was feeling recovered but after 100-miles you need recovery. The VK was super good. I placed 8th which was great. It surprised me that I could push. It motivated me for the Sky race just 2-days later.
IC – Another great victory for you, amazing really!
KJ – Yes. Thanks
IC – Trofeo Kima is just around the corner. It’s arguably one of ‘the’ key Skyraces. Do you have any plans or intentions for Kima?
KJ – It’s difficult to discuss plans. So many variables come into play. For example, I may do some mountaineering this week, which may mean I am tired. I have The Rut and Limone Extreme too this year. After a summer of rain when the sun comes out the snow tempts me, so, I can’t resist despite what races are on my calendar.
IC – I have to say, I was watching your posts about your runs this last week. Dakota and yourself doing big days in the mountains that have lasted 7-hours. With UTMB around the corner, didn’t Dakota make that mistake before?
KJ – I have often done Mont-Blanc just days before UTMB. It has altitude, great training and it doesn’t take too much energy. Dakota is strong and talented. We did this with 10-days before UTMB. He will be fine. I sometimes think he thinks too much. He needs to just run… it will be interesting to see Tony, Iker, Tofol and all the rest. I think Iker will be good. Luis Alberto he will start strong but can he maintain it? Luis has one pace, hard! Maybe he will start slower. UTMB this year will be a great race.
IC – You have Aconcagua (Summits of my Life) left for this year, December yes?
KJ – Yes, I will start in November to do ski training and then I will go back to running for Aconcagua. I’m excited as it has a high summit of 7000m. It’s not technical but it’s a tough record.
IC – And the record?
KJ – I think there are a couple of records but I don’t know the times. (In 2000 Bruno Brunod, Pelissier and Meraldi climbed from Plaza de Mulas in 3-hours 40-minutes. Carlos Sa did 15:42 from National Park Horcones.)
KJ – I will go from the entrance and I will try to achieve both records. Also, Emelie Forsberg will try a female record too.
IC – Wow, nice! I guess Aconcagua will be more like the Matterhorn?
KJ – No, it’s easier. It’s rocky but not steep. The altitude is the big issue. You can get sick and have problems so the challenge is different.
IC – It doesn’t have the danger of the Matterhorn. Ultimately, you have Everest as the last big objective. Have you thought about this yet?
KJ – It’s completely different, it’s very high, 9000m. It’s very long and this is the biggest problem. It’s to go all this way without oxygen and fast. The route is technical. I will start on the north face to prepare. It’s quiet so I will have no problems with people. I will need to prepare. I will go in spring, autumn and maybe the following spring. As per usual with all mountains, any attempt will be weather dependant. I expect to have several attempts.
IC – If you achieve Everest and complete the Summit series, where do you go next? Your list is ticked off, do you think you will comeback to some races you have done before or do you think you will create a new sport, a combination of all your skill levels?
KJ – I have lots of projects. Today I climbed the Matterhorn, I looked around and suddenly projects appear. I think maybe I can go from here to here or in skiing I go down a steep line. It doesn’t need to be the highest or the longest. Nice mountains with not many people. I like this sport because of the beauty. I like aesthetic projects more than numbers. I have so many options to choose from.
IC – Do you think racing will still appeal?
KJ – Yes, I love racing. I love the ambiance. I also like it as training. I push I give it everything and you can’t do this alone, it’s boring. I will race for sure in skiing and maybe run less.
IC – Today I spoke to Marco De Gasperi, I took him back to ‘91’ when he was 16 and the formative days of Skyrunning. His first race!
KJ – Yes, it was Monte Rosa.
IC – Yes, Monte Rosa and he also did the VK. He reminded me of 2007 when you were 20 and you turned up at a race and placed 6th. He said you looked at him as though he was a hero. He now looks at you as the hero.
KJ – No, Marco is the hero.
IC – 20+ years of Skyrunning. In the last 3-years Skyrunning has become bigger than ever and it continues to grow. Would you like to see the sport progress in anyway?
KJ – Every person is a carabiner. We all pass on and provide energy and it grows. The sport keeps the values of the beginning. However, it’s not just about distance, elevation and athletics. It’s about mountains and alpinism. More people are interested in being in the mountains, it’s not just about technical terrain, and we must look at what is around us too. The sport will grow for sure. We are seeing VK’s grow and longer races. I think in central Europe it will stay as it is but it will develop in other countries, for example the US. It’s important to grow and keep quality; we must keep the spirit.
IC – In ‘89’ when Marino Giacometti ran up Monte Rosa and came back down, it was pure mountain spirit. Up and down as fast as possible. I feel that Skyrunning is starting to go back to where it was 20-years ago. Maybe because we look at sport differently; but also you are providing a great influence. Do you think there is room for another sport outside of VK, Sky and Ultra within Skyrunning, maybe an extreme event?
KJ – Yes. I think an extreme sport would be a great idea. It has been done before as you say. It’s really important though to understand that this is mountaineering fast and not running.
IC – Alpinism without the clutter?
KJ – Yes, it’s not about being strong or fast it’s about how you climb! You need confidence and you need self-awareness. It’s another level. It will come as the sport grows but it is not for all. It’s not about kilometres it’s about mountain experience.
IC – Kilian, once again thank you so much for your time and the inspiration.
KJ – Thank you for everything.
Article ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved
Please credit as and when appropriate when sharing
I would like to thank Kilian Jornet for his time and generosity.
Marino Giacometti and Lauri Van Houten from the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation)
And all the wonderful races throughout the world that provides us all the opportunity to live our dreams.
Join us for a weekend of unforgettable adventure on the 2nd & 3rd August 2014.
Three options are available: 6, 12 or 24-hours. All the competitors finish at 12 noon Sunday in an exciting and dramatic finale to a memorable weekend of racing.
‘Completing a mountain marathon and conquering the navigational challenge should not be underestimated… but it should not be feared either, as successfully navigating and running in the mountains is a hugely satisfying experience and gives a real sense of confidence. A steady and careful approach will usually see even novice navigators around their course safely.’
The Event Centre location for Marmot24™ is close to Guardhouse in the Lake District National Park. Guardhouse is close to Threlkeld and just minutes off the A66.
The competition area stretches 360 degrees from the Event Centre and includes approximately 300 square kilometers. To the north are the remote Northern Fells guarded by the imposing flanks of Blencathra. To the south Clough Head marks the start of the Dodd’s ridge running towards Helvellyn and ultimately Ambleside. The terrain is perfect for a mountain marathon with laser fast ridges and valleys linking areas of complex contour features. There is also a great network of footpaths and tracks but competitors will need to balance easy running on these, with more direct routes between checkpoints. This area of mountains can be very challenging with steep mountains, cliffs, marshland, fast flowing rivers and energy sapping tussocks. Bad weather can happen year round and the nature of the mountains can change very quickly from benign to dangerous.
Ourea Events want competitors to travel as light as possible, to maximize their enjoyment of running in the mountains, without compromising their safety. Therefore, as Marmot24™ is a summer mountain marathon, the organization team does not require competitors to carry a tent, sleeping bag or stove. However, each pair is required to carry a 2-person bothy bag (emergency shelter) and an additional warm layer such as insulated jacket. All team members must also carry a personal survival bag.
With the 24-hour race starting at high noon Saturday, the 12-hour race starting at midnight Saturday and the 6-hour race starting at 0600 on the Sunday morning, everyone will finish at 12 noon on the Sunday in an exciting and dramatic finale to a memorable weekend of racing.
Race director, Shane Ohly, an experienced and fierce competitor himself is extremely excited at the prospect of the racing. To the best of my knowledge, the strongest looking teams are from France and Spain. There are a few other foreign teams but I don’t know too much about them yet. No obviously strong British teams, which is a shame… but there is still time for them to enter as entry closes July 31st.’
Ones to watch:
Aurelio Antonio Olivar and Angel Garcia
Aurelio was the 2013 European Rogaine Champion.
Angel won the Spanish national adventure racing championships in 2013
Aguilera and Marc Raflos
Mònica has won the World Adventure Race Champs, the Marathon de Sables, Trangrancanaria, Transvulcania and many more. Marc has been the Spanish national orienteering champion three times.
Christophe Bosseaux, Vincent Becam
A strong team with both runners having represented France at the European Rogaining Champs.
All checkpoints will have the same score value, which is 10.
Competitors arriving back late will be penalized as follows:
- Up to 5 minutes late = lose 1 point per minute / part minute.
- Between 6 and 15 minutes late = lose 5 points per minute / part minute.
- Between 16 and 29 minutes late = lose 10 points per minute / part minute.
- Over 30 minutes late = loose all points!
More information and last minute entries HERE
1118 runners toed the line for the 2014 Skyrunning World Championships 80km Ultra in the endurance capital of the world, Chamonix.
Departing at 0400 the race followed the original route in contrast to last years race, which was modified due to the presence of snow at high-points.
Blue skies welcomed each and every runner and allowed an opportunity for everyone to view the splendor of this tough, technical and remarkable route. A total distance of 83.7km and 6000m of positive gain was always going to provide a male and female champion of the highest quality.
At La Flégère (km16), Transvulcania La Palma winner, Luis Alberto Hernando (SPA) was leading followed by Mike Wolfe (USA) and the winner of the 2013 edition, François D’Haene (FRA). Luis-Alberto took the bull by the horns and pushed ahead and by the Col des Montets (23km) had a lead of 5-minutes.
Luis Alberto continued to push and at Emosson dam (km32) the Spaniard had opened a convincing lead that he would continue to hold all the way to the line. However, Francois d’Haene tried everything he possibly could to close the gap. In the end, the margin was reduced to 4-mins making it a remarkably close finish.
François gave us the story of the head of the race, ‘Luis Alberto produced a great performance. He is strong on the short distance; I am stronger on longer distances. At Montenvers (km75) after getting cramps, I gave everything in the last run to the line and I gained a little time. I am very happy about my race, this course is amazing.’
Behind the 2-lead men, Mike Wolfe faded opening the doorway to the rising stars of the Southern Hemisphere; Ben Duffus (3rd), Blake Hose (6th) and Caine Warburton (9th). Clement Petitjean placed 4th after a consistently strong performance all day.
Emelie Forsberg (SWE) put early season disappointments behind her and started the World Championship event from the front and never looked back. Producing a master-class in endurance running, Emelie crossed the line in Chamonix and was crowned female Skyrunning World Champion in 12-hours 38-minutes.
Anna Frost on a roll from her Transvulcania La Palma victory confirmed that she is back with an excellent second place, 8-minutes behind her Salomon teammate.
Magdaléna Laczack (POL) was in contention all-day and produced a stand out performance to place 3rd lady ahead of Maud Gobert (FRA).
Tiredness, fatigue and endurance accompanied by magnificent landscapes and panoramic views. This is the magic and the essence of the Skyrunning World Championships.
Podium of the Mont-Blanc 80k, World Championship ultra-marathon Skyrunning
1 – Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) : 10:25:52
2 – François d’Haene (FRA) : 10:29:33
3 – Ben Duffus (AUS) : 10:52:33
1 – Emilie Forsberg (NOR) : 12:38 :49
2 – Anna Frost (NZ) : 12:46:52
3 – Magdalena Laczak (PL) : 12:58:51