Kilian Jornet returns to Nepal, little news is available of what Kilian plans but the Nepalese/ south side will most likely be the Catalan’s objective.
In my in-depth interview with Kilian (HERE) he eluded to the frustrations of media attention and how in the future, he may well go on projects and expeditions and only provide information of the undertaking after the event. Well, it looks like such a project is now underway.
Laura Font Sentís who has represented Kilian for many years via the Barcelona-based Lymbus agency confirmed to Canadian Running Magazine:
“Kilian will spend some time in the Himalayas with his family and he will take advantage to explore the terrain. If he does any relevant activity he will communicate after he has completed it.”
Everest will receive a dozen attempts this season after the monsoons – after a lull of 8 to 9 years.
According to the Department of Tourism, the last time Everest was climbed in the autumn season was in 2010, when American Eric Larsen achieved the feat.
“It’s difficult to climb Everest during the autumn because of post-monsoon and fresh snow,” said Rameshwor Niroula
I had wondered if Kilian would try to resurrect the project of Ueli Steck before his death in 2017? Confirmation has been received that Kilian does have permission to climb Lhotse but in what capacity and for what purpose is unknown – could it be a speed record or to resurrect Steck’s project?
“Steck died on 30 April 2017 while acclimatizing for an attempt of the Hornbein route on the West Ridge of Everest without supplemental oxygen. This route had been climbed only a few times, the last of which was in 1991. His plan was to climb the Hornbein Couloir to the summit, then proceed with a traverse to the peak of Lhotse, the world’s fourth highest mountain. This combination had not been achieved.”
François Lebeau and Jon Glassberg are with Kilian and this would suggest that they will document the project…? Again, this is speculation but one would assume Kilian will undertake any project with a small team and move fast and light, as one would expect!
The Himalayan Times have confirmed much activity for Autumn and I quote;
‘….besides, Spanish climber Kilian Jornet would also attempt to climb Mt Everest after leading a three-member team on Mt Lhotse in the autumn season, Murari Sharma, Managing Director at Everest Pariwar Treks informed.’
Sources said that there would be two teams on Mt Everest this season, also taken from The Himalayan Times:
“Jornet will be using a single permit while others would share another Everest climbing permit. Renowned photographers including Francois Lebeau and Jon Glassberg will be documenting their climbs on Mt Everest.”
Episode 159 of Talk Ultra is a Bob Graham Round special with a full and in-depth interview with Kilian Jornet. In addition, we bring you two interviews with Paul Aitken and Steve Birkinshaw who helped pace Kilian, amongst others, on this record breaking FKT.
Talk Ultra is now on Tunein- just another way to make the show available for those who prefer not to use iTunes – HERE You can download the Tunein APP HERE
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If you would like to support Talk Ultra, become a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
Episode 139 of Talk Ultra brings and we bring you a full and in-depth interview with Hector Haines who is having a great year in the Skyrunning Extreme Series. We also speak with Ragna Debats about the IAU World Trail Championships and her rise in the Skyrunner World Series. We have the news and Speedgoat is back!
Talk Ultra is now on Tunein – just another way to make the show available for those who prefer not to use iTunes – HERE You can download the Tunein APP HERE
Talk Ultra needs your help!
We have set up a Patreon page and we are offering some great benefits for Patrons… you can even join us on the show! This is the easiest way to support Talk Ultra and help us continue to create!
Many thanks to our Patrons who have helped via PATREON
Anna Mae Flynn and Jim Walmsley set two new CR’s 6:18 and 5:04 respectively. Kelly Wolf and Brittany Peterson placed 2nd and 3rd for the ladies and Tim Tollefson and Dylan Bowman were 2nd and 3rd for the men.
Jan Margaret did it again, he followed up victory at the Dolomites SkyRace with victory here – a star of the future! Marco De Gasperi was 2nd and Run Ueda 3rd.
Laura Orgue won the race in 2016 and it looked like a repeat performance when she crested the summit with a strong lead, however, a stomach issue caused problems on the descent and Sheila Aviles passed for victory. Laura placed 2nd and Takako Takamura 3rd.
Jared Campbell and Gary Robbins completed in 56hrs 39min after a tough outing. Ikea Karrera set a stunning new FKT 47hrs 40min smashing Andrew Hamilton’s previous best.
Angeles Crest 100
Jerry Garcia and Rachel Ragona took respective victories ahead of Branden Bollweg and Dominic Grossman for the men and Serena Eley and Diana Treister for the ladies.
World Mountain Running Long Distance Champs
Petro Mamu took the top slot ahead of Francesco Puppi and Pascal Egli – 3:12, 3:14 and 3:18. Silvia Rampazzo took the ladies’ title ahead of Katie Enman and Denise Dragomir – 3:56, 3:57 and 3:59.
Jon Albon did it again ahead of Him Gurung and Michel Lanne – 7:01, 7:11 and 7:27. For the ladies’ Maite Maiora once again took another win ahead of Ragna Debats and Nuria Picas – all three ladies’ under Jasmin Paris’s 2016 CR of 8:42 – their times 8:21, 8:25 and 8:39.
Our thoughts and love go to Hillary Allen who took a terrible fall from the Hamperokken ridge. We are pleased to say, it looks like she will have a good recovery. See HERE.
Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
As races go, the Hardrock 100 has anticipation and attention way beyond its relatively diminutive size – less than 150 runners will toe the line in 2017! However, as those who have run the race confirm, Colorado’s San Juan Mountains and the Hardrock 100 route is something to embrace. If proof were needed, Kilian Jornet has run and won the race three times and he will be back again in 2017. For Kilian, the course is tough, beautiful, offers a challenge but maybe more importantly, it’s low-key. He can turn up, walk around, race and have little of the media and fan frenzy he would get in Europe, irrespective of the size of the race. Kilian’s Salomon teammate Anna Frost also confirms that this area of the USA is something pretty darn special – so much so she currently calls Durango her home.
It’s a high altitude race, with much of the race taking place above 3000m and the high point coming around 4200m. In total, the runners climb and over 10.000m whilst covering 100 challenging miles.
Last year, Anna Frost topped the ladies podium and Jason Schlarb and Kilian Jornet were the joint male winners, all three therefore are guaranteed an entry for 2017 and all three have confirmed participation but Anna Frost is still unsure if she will toe the line – more on that later.
It’s a constant frustration for me that we never see a fully stacked field at Hardrock. Don’t get me wrong, there is always plenty of class up at the front but it often feels that the winner will come from a small and select group of 4 or 5 runners. I think we all know that so many top elite runners would love to toe the line but the Hardrock lottery is against them – I guess it does add some charm and anticipation to the race.
I don’t think we will see Kilian Jornet hold hands this year but I do anticipate he will spend much of the race in the company of 1 or 2 runners until beyond the midway point – it’s a big day out for Kilian in an awesome place and he enjoys the company. Of course, he may be enticed by setting a super fast time? If he does, then we can expect him to hit the front alone maybe somewhere around half-way, if not, he may take the race by the horns in the final quarter. Whatever he decides, Kilian will win barring an accident.
Jason Schlarb has dined out on crossing the line at the 2016 Hardrock for one year and who can blame him. He has done something that so few can do, keep up with the Catalan. Earlier this year Jason raced The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica with a solid run and then he recently placed just inside the top-10 at Transvulcania. For the last month or so he’s been in the San Juans preparing and it’s fair to assume he will be ready for battle.
Iker Karrera is an interesting addition to the 2017 line-up and after being a ‘one-to-watch’ at so many races in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, I can’t help but feel Iker’s been a little awol for the last 18-months and that leaves a question mark. Iker on his day is one of the best there is, especially at long distance races with loads of vert – he won Tor des Geants in 2013 for example. If he has the form that provided him with 2nd at UTMB in 2014 then we have an interesting race on our hands.
Karl Meltzer has won Hardrock five times and he’s back. He will be the first to admit he doesn’t have the speed to keep up with Kilian but Speedgoat is a fox. He appears to have recovered well post his Appalachian Trail FKT and he’s been sensible by not rushing things. He won Zane Grey 50 which prompted me and Speedgoat to confirm, ‘there is life in the old dog yet!’ If he’s feeling good, he has the long game to put on a great race and few can keep up with Speedgoat’s hiking pace – an essential skill for Hardrock. The AT HERE
Mike Foote is another mystery for this years race. Not that I or you have to question who he is, the question is more about his form? Ever since he did his FKT project with Mike Wolfe, Foote seems to have raced a little on the back burner. Having said that, mountain races are his thing and he has a long list of impressive results at UTMB and he has been 2nd at Hardrock. He will start slow and then move up making up places and time in the final third.
Nick Pedatella was 4th at Hardrock in 2012 but I know little of his current form. Experience alone and a top-5 performance in the past makes him someone to make a note of.
Adam Campbell was 3rd at Hardrock in 2015 and 2014. As many of you will know, Adam was wiped out of 2016 with a near death accident. Read HERE. No pressure on Adam in 2017 and I’ll make no guesses or predictions, to see Adam toe the line will be a wonderful sight and one that he and many of us thought would not happen. Read HERE
Mr Hardrock, Joe Grant, is back again! The lottery gods love Joe and Joe loves Hardrock. He placed 2nd in 2012 and in many respects, that podium place set Joe up for the runner who he is today. I say runner, but I feel Joe goes beyond the tag of ultra-runner and I see him more of an adventurer. He’s taken on some huge challenges over the years, examples coming with the Iditarod, his Colorado 14ers FKT and expeditions via bike. Pretty sure Joe will treat Hardrock as another awesome adventure in the mountains and if things go well, we can see him in or around the top-5.
Other names to watch to be in and around the top-10 are: Mike Wardian, Coury brothers (Jamil and Nick), Grant Guise and Scott Jaime.
Anna Frost has won the race the last 2-years and who would want to bet against her? Frosty when in form is unstoppable and when she is not in form, she can often dig deeper than any other runner I know. I was with Frosty in Costa Rica (Read HERE) and spending much time chatting – I was well aware that she was switching into a new phase of her life. At Zegama-Aizkorri she participated but was way off the top-10 and at Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira she dropped. All things considered, I think Frosty’s prep for this years Hardrock is behind where she would like it to be and therefore she has three choices: 1. She will run because she loves the course and wants to irrespective of placing. 2. She will think that she can win it and be mentally prepared for the pain that will be required or 3. She’s over it and can’t get herself set up for the physical and mental challenge it will bring. Of course, the only descent thing to do was ask Frosty… “I’m doing Hardrock! It’s been a mental and physical battle this year but one I am winning right now. Definitely not on competitive form but I am doing HR because I love it! ….I’ll get it done! It deserves that.” So. it looks like it’s no1.
Caroline Chaverot is probably putting the fear of god in the ladies’ competition. In 2016 this French lady was unstoppable and for me was the stand out runner, male or female, in 2016. The depth of here ability incredible, her range (long or short) her skill (fast or mountainous) was unmatched. 2017 kicked off with a rough patch and an early withdrawal from Transgrancanaria, what followed was some quiet time away and then boom, she was back with victory at Maxi-Race Annecy and most recently, Lavaredo. Her victory at UTMB last year sets her up perfectly for Hardrock and I think she will win the race.
Nathalie Mauclair, also from France, can’t be ruled out of the podium places but her recent form seems a little below recent years. She was 2nd at Marathon des Sables earlier this year. Her record at Diagonale des Fous, champion in 2013 and 2014, is the best indicator of success in the San Juans.
The wild card goes to local girl, Hannah Green who has been training her butt off and is super strong and young. She may lack experience but has heart and if she can hold on and manage herself she could do it and be up on the podium. (Hot tip from Frosty)
Three time winner Darcy Piceu (formerly Africa) gave Frosty a battle in 2015 with a really strong run – Frosty triumphed with a late surge. Missing the race last year, it’s fair to assume that Darcy will be fired up for a great run. She has the experience, no question, not sure she has the speed of an in form Frost, Chaverot or Mauclair.
Darla Askew is the last prime contender for a win and podium – she’s placed 2nd before and that is backed up with two 3rd places.
Ones to watch – Jamie Frink, Betsy Kalmeyer, Tina Ure and Rachel Bucklin.
Kilian Jornet Summits Mt Everest – Alone and without fixed ropes or oxygen, he completes the climb in and amazing 26 hours.
Kilian Jornet has done it again. The Catalan successfully summited Mount Everest this week in 26 hours without the use of additional oxygen or fixed ropes. Alone, in a single climb, Jornet reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain (8848 metres).
The climb sets a *new “Fastest Known Time” of 26 hours from the Everest Base Camp (5,100 metres) to the summit. Due to stomach problems, Jornet didn’t complete the descent to the Everest Base Camp, having to at the Advanced Base Camp (6,500 metres) before the final descent.
“Up to 7,700m I felt really good and was making progress as planned, but then I started to feel unwell, probably from stomach virus,”Jornet said. “From then on I made slow progress and had to keep stopping to recover. I finally reached the summit at midnight.”
He completed the climb from Everest Base Camp at the ancient Rombuk monastery to the summit via the traditional route up the north face. Jornet began the challenge at Everest Base Camp on May 20 at 22h local time (+5: 45 GMT).
At 12h15 local time he was back at the Everest Advanced Base Camp, where he confirmed reaching the summit at midnight. In general, expeditions take four days to reach the summit from the Advanced Base Camp. Given his stomach virus, Jornet decided to end the attempt at the Advanced Base Camp instead of descending to the Base Camp, near the Rombuk monastary, as he’d initially intended.
The climb forms part of the Summits of My Life project, which, since 2012, has seen Jornet travel around the world to try to establish records on the planet’s most iconic mountains. He began with Mont Blanc in the French Alps in 2012 and since then has scaled other mountains in Europe (Mont Blanc and Cervino), North America (Denali) and South America (Aconcagua).
You can read an in-depth interview with Kilian HERE.
During the Everest challenge Jornet was accompanied by the expedition’s mountain guide and video cameraman Sébastien Montaz-Rosset, another Salomon athlete. After meteorologists forecast a window of good weather on May 20-21, Jornet decided to make May 20 the day to begin the challenge and left the Base Camp at 5,100 meters by the ancient monastery of Rombuk. The aim was to get to the summit in a single climb, without oxygen or fixed ropes and with minimal equipment. Finally, after reviewing the conditions for the different routes, he opted for the traditional one.
When Jornet set off at 10 p.m. local time (+5: 45 GMT), ahead of him lay 15.2km of glacial moraine before he arrived at the Advanced Base Camp (ABC). This part of the climb took 4h35 and he arrived at ABC at 2:35 a.m. He rested for two hours before continuing.
“It’s important to be fresh when you reach 8,000 metres if you want to reach the summit. I knew that in the first stage, I had to conserve energy for the final stretch,” Jornet explained.
After leaving some of the technical equipment at the ABC, he set off for the most technical part of the climb at 4:30 a.m.
Leaving the ABC, he climbed to cross Field 1 at 7,000 metres. It was 6:30 a.m. and he’d been on the move for eight hours. From there he climbed to Field 2, between 7,600 metres and 7,800 metres, where Seb Montaz was waiting for him. Montaz was there to film him during the ascent and then return to Advanced Base Camp to report on the situation.
Meanwhile, Jornet continued to climb. At around 7,500 metres he started to feel weak and had a bad stomach ache. As a result, he decided to rest for 15 minutes in Field 3 (8,300 metres). “I didn’t feel well and I was making slow progress,” he reports. “I had to stop every few meters and I had cramps and was vomiting. In spite of everything, I felt all right at altitude and decided to continue.”
From there, Jornet climbed the highest section and arrived at the summit at midnight. It was a clear night, without clouds or wind.
“Reaching the summit of Everest without fixed ropes isn’t something you’d do every day,” he said. “I saw a fantastic sunset and finally reached the summit at midnight. I was alone but I saw the lights of expeditions setting off on their ascent both on the north and south faces. I started to descend right away so as to get to the ABC as soon as possible.”
However, he rested again in Field 3 before beginning the final part of the descent and arrived at the ABC at 12h15 local time, 38 hours after he began. As he felt unwell, he decided to end the attempt at the Advanced Base Camp rather than descend to Base Camp, near the ancient monastery of Rombuk, as he’d originally intended.
The video cameraman Seb Montaz had followed Kilian Jornet during some of the challenge. Montaz left Advanced Base Camp at 3h20am and climbed to 7,500 metres to wait for him and film his ascent through the high fields of Everest. Montaz would then climb to 8,020 meters to film. From there he descended to the Advanced Base Camp to wait for Jornet, climbing up to 7,000 metres to meet him. It was another handful of hours on the mountain for this guide-turned-cameraman.
Before Everest, Kilian Jornet had spent two weeks on another 8,000m mountain, Cho Oyu (8,200 metres). The aim was to be well prepared for Everest and also to try out a new type of acclimatization.
“In four weeks we have reached two 8,000 metres summits so it seems our acclimatization has worked,” Jornet said. “We had been training in hypoxia for a few weeks before and we went to acclimatize in the Alps before coming here. It seems that this type of express acclimatization works and the body tires less and as a result we’re stronger when it comes to the challenge.”
Following the initial attempt, Kilian completed an ascent of the mountain a 2nd time on May 27. Again without the use of fixed ropes or supplemental oxygen, this attempt just five days after summiting Everest on May 22.
“I’m so happy to have made the summit again!” Jornet says according to his blog. “Today I felt good although it was really windy so it was hard to move fast. I think summiting Everest twice in one week without oxygen opens up a new realm of possibilities in alpinism and I’m really happy to have done it.”
Kilian completed in *17-hours this time from advanced base camp to summit.
1. Prototype Salomon Mountaineering Boots – designed specifically for the Everest expedition. They include lightweight prototype trail running shoes (unseen here) that are placed inside the outer boots once Jornet reaches the snow line.
2. Salomon Prototype Sleeping suit – Prototype 1-piece high-altitude suit engineered and fully developed by Salomon.
3. Salomon S-LAB X Alp Carbon 2 GTX® Shoes
4. Salomon X-MAX Goggles
5. Salomon Sagarmatha Glacier Sunglasses
6. Salomon Soft Flasks
7. Salomon S/Lab Trail Running Gloves
8. Salomon Beanies
9. Salomon X Alp GTX® Pants
10. Salomon X Alp Mid Hoodie
11. Salomon X Alp Speed Pant
12. Salomon S-LAB Socks
13. Salomon Prototype Mountaineering Poles
14. Salomon Primo Base Layer Shirt and Pants
15. Salomon S-LAB X Alp Baffled Down Jacket
16. Salomon S-LAB Modular Running Shorts
17. Salomon XA Trail Running Cap
18. Salomon Peak 40 Bag
Press release and information via Salomon.
*Records need to be confirmed and ratified. Trail Runner Mag asks questions regarding the records HERE
“Good feelings today! Climb from Advanced Base Camp to 8.400m in a bit less than 6 hours. Our acclimatization process continues! #OurEverest”
Fast and light and without oxygen, Kilian Jornet has started his 2nd attempt at the summit of Everest. He departed on the 2017 adventure on Saturday May 20th* (Tibet is GMT +8) from the monastery of Rongbuk.
*Schedule in Tibet. 18,15 Spanish time, 17,15 hour in London, from rongbuk monastery 5.100 mts.
Taking the north face route, the world famous runner, climber and ski mountaineer will look to climb to the summit of the 8848m peak in a record time – he failed in 2016 due to bad weather.
Just recently in preparation, Kilian climbed in China with his partner Emelie Forsberg and made a successful summit of Cho You – the sixth highest mountain in the world at 8,188 metres (26,864 ft) above sea level. You can read his summary HERE.
Just a few days ago, Kilian reached 8400m after climbing from advanced base camp at 6400m. He tweeted, “Good feelings today! Climb from Advanced Base Camp to 8.400m in a bit less than 6 hours. Our acclimatization process continues! #OurEverest”
There is no benchmark for what Kilian is trying to achieve as with his ‘Summits Of My Life Project’ he will start from the last inhabited place. Records are usually taken from a base camp on the mountain. Kilian will leave and return to the monastery at Rongbuk.
Fast and Light? Here is Kilian’s equipment:
See the map:
We wish Kilian and the #OurEverest team god speed and good luck for the ultimate #SOML experience.
I have to say, I, like many others have had worries and concerns about the ‘Summits’ program. Let’s be clear here, I don’t doubt or question Kilian’s ability. What I do say and have always said, if you do anything enough times, it will eventually go wrong or something will happen. Kilian has already experienced loss and tragedy on this project. The death of Stephan Brosse was certainly a wake up call but Kilian understands the risks. Certainly the recent death of Ueli Steck is reminder to all of the challenge ahead.
“You have to go look for happiness in life, find it in the things that make you feel alive. Life is not something to be preserved or protected, it is to be explored and lived to the full.” – Kilian Jornet
“On the track, there is no risk so we time ourselves to get a benchmark. In the mountains, it is different. We try to become one with the mountain by finding new limits. It’s an emotion, from the heart, very connected to risk.”
Everest is the final test in the #SOML project and will probably be the most demanding challenge of the project and, indeed, of his life. Kilian has broken records on mountains around the world and the final part of this personal project is an incredible one; an attempt to establish a ‘FKT’ (fastest known time) for ascending Everest, the world’s highest mountain at 8,848m. Kilian is taking on this challenge his own way, in the most pure and minimalist manner possible.
UPDATE – Sunday 21st May 1530 UK Time
BREAKING NEWS UPDATE #SOML #OurEverest @kilianj – Seb has seen Kilian at 7500m, apparently KJ is good! Weather also good!
KILIAN SUMMITS EVEREST from #SOML
Kilian Jornet has the Everest summit, midnight (local time) from 21 to 22 May. To do that you have not used or oxygen, fixed ropes and neither has done one go.
The summit has achieved for the north face of the highest mountain in the world (8.848m) following the traditional route. Kilian Jornet started the challenge of Everest Base Camp, located in the old monastery of Rombuk (5.100m) on May 20 at 22h local time (+5: 45 GMT).
At 12h15 local time on 22 May is back to Advanced Base Camp of Everest (6.500m) which confirmed the summit achieved at midnight, 26 hours after starting the ascent.
38 hours after starting the challenge and get back to Advanced Base Camp explains: “Until I felt good 7.700m and planning ahead as planned, but from that point I started find bad guess to a stomach virus. From there I advanced very slowly and had to go stopping every so often to get me to recover. Finally, however, I made the summit at midnight “
Due to illness, Jornet decides to terminate the attempt to Advanced Base Camp instead of down at Everest Base Camp, located in the old monastery Rombuk as planned initially.
Once you have more information about the challenge, informed through the channels Summits of My Life.
I have always loved that simple quote from the movie, ‘Field of Dreams.’ I had the same thought process when I started the Skyrunner National Series in the UK. I was told, Skyrunning in the UK, don’t be silly. It’s not possible.
However, over the last three years the small but perfectly balanced series has gone from strength-to-strength. We had Stevie Kremer and Jo Meek race in year-1. In year-2, Emelie Forsberg, Jasmin Paris and wealth of other world-class talent toed the line.
And last year, the world came to Scotland for the UK’s first ever Skyrunner World Series race. This knock-on effect has seen a sell out 2017 calendar and all the races with in the UK Series personify pure Skyrunning.
The season starts with the V3K in Wales, the series then moves to the Lake District with Scaffell SkyRace and Lakes SkyUltra. Skyline Scotland follows with no-less than three World Series events – in the SKY, ULTRA and EXTREME category, the Mamores VK also joins the new VK Series. Finally we finish in Ireland with the Mourne Skyline MTR.
It’s never good to pinpoint one person, but when Kilian Jornet confirms that he will come to the UK and race in the series. That is worth shouting about!
Roll on June when the series starts – we hope you can join us in what will be the pinnacle of mountain racing in the UK!
Did I mention, he’s having a go at the BOB GRAHAM ROUND too!
Kilian marking his own Skyrunning race, TROMSO in Norway.
Kilian Jornet is considered the greatest mountain runner ever. But he doesn’t consider himself a runner. Join Kilian in his new backyard in Norway as he attempts to ski and run in a single day the Seven Summits of Romsdalen, a 77km route with 9000m of elevation gain.
As a year comes to end, it’s always nice to be able to look back and appreciate some of the highlights that all come together that allows one to decide if it was a good or bad year. For me personally, 2016 was a cracker and I am truly thankful for all the opportunities that came up.
Looking back and deciding on what a highlight is, is of course a tricky thing. It’s very personal and it also requires a great memory. So, I will declare right from the off that these are ‘my’ highlights and yes, I am going to miss some key performances, runners, experiences and so on that should be in the list. So, please feel free to comment and remind me.
It would make sense to start in January and move through to December in a logical way… I am not going to do that, I am writing this off the cuff.
Jim Walmsley has been on fire in 2016 and ironically, despite an amazing run and course record at JFK50, FKT’s for the Rim-to-Rim and Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim in the Grand Canyon and countless other victories, it will be his Western States performance that well and truly cements Jim as one of the most exciting runners to rise in 2016. He said pre Western States that he was there to win and win with a course record. He flew along the trails and at one point was almost 30-minutes under the record. As he passed 90-miles everyone was re-writing the history books and then boom! Jim went off course. I caught up with a full and in-depth interview with Jim and you can listen to that HERE and read it HERE. Jim for many is the male Ultra-runner of the Year with victories at Stagecoach Line 55km, Franklin Mountains Trail Run, Lake Sonoma, Mesquite Canyon, Moab Red Hot 55k, Bandera 100k and the recent JFK50. 2017 is going to be a very exciting one.
Rob Young set off on a journey Across the USA looking for a new record, fame, glory and an opportunity to raise a load of money for charity. Somewhere along the way he lost a grasp of reality, perspective and ruined what was a remarkable story be cheating and deceiving the whole ultra running community. Ultimately, Rob is a story of an individual who tried to do good and maybe we should ask what went wrong rather than preach about his morals.
That brings me on to Mark Vaz. What is it with FKT’s and delusional behaviour? Mark seemed to think that running from Land’s End to John O’Groats 31-hours quicker than anyone else for the 860-mile journey was a good idea. It’s not even a convincing lie. As many pointed out, the god of ultra -running, Yiannis Kouros, couldn’t have done it as quick as Mr. Vaz claimed… oh dear!
Pete Kostelnick by contrast embraced the FKT concept and showed the world that the claims made by Rob Young are possible by smashing a 30+ year old Guinness record out of the ether by running Across the USA a full 4-days quicker than anyone else. As records go, this is an absolute doozy and when you look deep and hard into this 40+ day journey, you soon start to understand the difficulty and complexity of running 70+ miles a day. You can listen to an in-depth interview with Pete HERE and read the story HERE. In addition, we must also add to this story, Pete’s incredible and record breaking run at Badwater 135. This achievement has been overshadowed by the USA run but as a stand alone run, it’s also a cracker.
Karl Meltzer did it, he finally completed the Appalachian Trail in a new record breaking time after failing on two previous occasions. His time was some 10-hours quicker than Scott Jurek’s set in 2015, however, Karl did run in the opposite direction and has said, post run, he feels that they are two records. Notably, Karl helped Scott in 2015 and Scott helped Karl in 2016. It’s a remarkable story and one that truly reflects our sport of ultra-running. Karl’s record of 45-days, 22-hours and 38-minutes now sits in the record books and well and truly establishes Karl as one of ‘the’ greatest ultra-runners in the world. This is also backed up with his 38 100-mile victories and 5 victories at Hardrock 100. Listen to the in-depth interview HEREand readHERE
Talking of Hardrock 100, Kilian Jornet and Jason Schlarb held hands and crossed the line together in 2016. It was a wonderful moment that split the ultra-running audience in two. Some would have preferred a race to the line while others discussed the wonderful gesture and statement this moment made. Whichever camp you sit in, it was back-to-back victories for Kilian and a career defining moment for Jason Schlarb. Something he discussed in my in-depth interview HERE. For equality, we also need to mention Anna Frost nailing a back-to-back ladies victory. As I understand it, these three Musketeers will all return in 2017.
Aaron Denberg got a bee in his bonnet about Hardrock 100 lottery and decided to create a law suit. Many believe Mr. Denberg makes some good points but questioned if his approach was the correct one? Hardrock 100 released statements and have since removed the payment of a fee by each runner to enter the lottery, something which was apparently illegal! This will run and run (pardon the pun) but ultimately, is Hardrock a victim of it’s own success?
Caroline Chaverot for me, without doubt, female ultra-runner of the year. This French lady has been on fire all the way from victory in Transgrancanaria early in the year to a most recent win in Hong Kong on December 2nd. Along the way, Caroline won UTMB, became Skyrunning World Champion for the ultra distance and won the IAU World Trail Championships in Portugal. Add to these incredible results, victories at Madirea Island Ultra Trail, Mont-Blanc 80km and the UTWT world title for 2016 and I lower my head and bow to Queen Caroline. Plus she has made the lottery for Hardrock in 2017… exciting!
Adam Campbell survives a horrific fall and not only lives to tell the tale but has a remarkable recovery, listen to the interview HERE and read HERE
Lizzy Hawker sneaked from under the radar and once again picked up the gauntlet testing her personal boundaries and voyage of self-discovery. After years of injury, Lizzy completed the GHT (Great Himalayan Trail). A 1600km, east to west journey across Nepal. It was, as Lizzy promised, a “beautiful, rough, hard and unforgettable journey”. It was about many things, but also about trying to raise money to give opportunities to Nepali runners, particularly girls, for whom one chance can be a catalyst for much wider change.
Damian Hall set a new FKT on the UK’s South West Coast Path 10-hours, 15-minutes and 18-seconds for the 630-mile jaunt.
Jeff Browning, what a year…! Winner Hurt 100, 3rd at Western States, 4th at Hardrock 100 and 4th at Run Rabbit Run – that is some year, the WSER/Hardrock double a stand out and fastest combined time.
Kilian Jornet won Hardrock 100 and attempted to summit Everest. The Summits Of My Life project continues on into 2017 after Kilian and his team decided to pull the plug on a 2016 attempt as weather detonated.
Emelie Forsberg was quiet in 2016 after damaging her ACL and having an operation, she did however return to Trofeo Kima and put the record straight with a victory… she hopes the course record will come in 2018 when the race will take place once again. Emelie discussed her injury HERE
Beth Pascall went from strength-to-strength in 2016 and elevated the Lakeland 100 (UK) record to a whole new level by placing 4th overall. Listen to her interview HERE
Zach Miller did what he always does and lead from the front. At UTMB many predicted, me included, that it was going to be a story of glorious victory with a stunning ‘off-the-front’ performance or carnage with a monumental blow-up! In reality it was both, the blow-up came and he somehow managed to hold on for grim death to still get a top-10 place, he will win this race one day! Jump forward to December and Zach did it again at San Francisco 50. This time he had company and many are saying that ‘this’ race was one of the highlights of the year as Zach and Hayden Hawks traded blows at the front. Zach won with a course record and he took home the $10,000 prize. Hayden finished just 2-minutes back. Note that name! If you want to know what it’s like to put it ALL on the line, take a look at Zach’s final 2-minutes of that incredible 5:56:03 run.
Andrew Miller became the youngest winner of the iconic Western States and today, myself and so many others still know very little about this 20-year old. Certainly, Jim Walmsley had an impact on the kudos and plaudits that Andrew should have received. Running 15:39:36 at WSER takes some doing but I can’t help but think that Biology and chemistry are a priority as Andrew starts his sophomore year at Northern Arizona University. He will be back at WSER in 2017!
Kaci Lickteig has been nailing it and nailing it and finally got the Western States victory that she has longed for and then contrasted it with victory at the Bear 100. You can listen to Kaci’s post Western States interview HERE
Andrea Huser runs and races it would appear ‘every’ weekend. She is relentless. As I understand it, Andrea raced on thirteen occasions but I may have missed some/ She had victories at Raid de La Reunion Swiss Irontrail T201 Eiger Ultratrail 101km, Lavaredo, Trail d’Albertville, Trail Des Allobroges and Maxi-Race Annecy. Phew… any other year and the lack of Caroline Chaverot and Andrea would be female ultra-runner of the year.
Luis Alberto Hernando won Transvulcania, became Skyrunning World Champion for the ultra distance and became IAU World Trail Champion. That is a solid year and Luis has raced less having become a Dad. Had his feet not fallen apart at UTMB, he may well have been in the running with Jim for male ultra-runner of the year.
Diego Pazos is a name to watch and has surprised many in 2016. He’s my heads-up for the future. He had a notable result at Transgrancanaria early in 2016 but what followed was quite incredible, his victory at Mont-Blanc 80km a highlight!
Didrik Hermansen won Transgrancanaria and then placed 2nd at Western States. That is solid and shows real diversity. What will 2017 hold for him? Listen HEREand as Sondre corrects me, Didrik ran 6:45 and 6:38 for 100k.
Running Beyond Book was released in October and November to a worldwide audience and has been translated into Spanish, Italian, German, Swedish and of course is available in English. Containing 240-pages, this large coffee table books documents the sport of trail, ultra, mountain and skyrunning in images and words, HERE
Dan Lawson (UK) won the IAU 24 Hour European Championships in 2016 with a distance of 261.843 kilometres (162.702 mi).
Jasmin Paris has elevated herself to a whole new level in 2016. This quiet and shy fell runner set new records for the UK’s ‘Rounds’ and in the process placed 6th at UTMB (her first 100) won Tromso SkyRace, won Glencoe Skyline, became the Skyrunner World Series Extreme Champion 2016 and in addition to countless other races, also placed on the podium at the Skyrunning World Championships for the ultra distance behind Caroline Chaverot. Interviews with Jasmin Paris HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE
Joe Grant set a new record on the 14’ers in 31-days by cycling between trailheads and then summiting all the 14’ers (50+ of them) on foot to then return back to his cycle and then continue on his journey. He was self-sufficient for the whole trip. “I did set a speed record, but that wasn’t my goal,” says Grant, 33, an accomplished ultrarunner who finished second at the 2012 Hardrock 100. “The goal was to challenge myself and see the state, although the previous record served as a reference for how long I could take.” taken from trailrunningmag.
Megan Hicks also completed a ’14’ journey, the Nolans 14 in Colorado. She completed the journey in 57:19:19 to the summit of the 14th peak and then completed the journey back to the Fish Hatchery Trailhead in under 60-hours – 59:36. Her time is the fastest ever completed by a woman.
Nicky Spinks continues to inspire and while she may have lost her ‘Round’ records to Jasmin Paris, she went on to set a new benchmark with a record for a double Bob Graham Round – Nick is an inspiration! You can listen to an interview with her HERE
Ludovic Pommeret ran the most controlled and impressive UTMB ever moving from not being in contention to slowly but surely ticking off the runners ahead and taking the crown at the largest ultra in the world. Add to this victory four other victories and Ludovic is one to keep an eye on in ’17.’
Caroline Boller set new American Trail 50-mile record 5:48:01
Gina Slaby set new female 100-mile WR 13:45:49 for ‘any’ surface, Anne Trason had the previous record of 13:47:41 set in the early 90’s.
Skyline Scotland achieved a first with Glencoe Skyline achieving Skyrunner World Status in the Extreme category and as such, the 2016 edition of the race had arguably one of the best fields assembled on UK soil for a mountain race. HERE
Jon Albon transitioned from obstacle racing (something he still does and excels at) to Skyrunning and won the 2016 Skyrunner World Series Extreme category. We are going to see more of him in 2017! HERE
Samantha Gash ran across India in a project called ‘Run India’ as a means to create awareness and raise money. Covering over 3000km you can listen to her story in episode 125 of Talk Ultra out on Friday 16th December.
Ida Nilsson started the year with a win in Transvulcania, she took victory at The Rut and then in early December won San Francisco 50. Without doubt, Ida is a star of the future. Listen to Ida talk about Transvulcania HERE
Stu Leaney breaks Michael Wardian’s 50km treadmill record by just 7-seconds
Mina Guli ran 40-marathons across 7 deserts on 7 continents in 7 weeks to raise awareness for water, listen to the interview HERE
Jason Schlarb started his year by prepping for Hardrock 100 by skiing the course, listen to the interview HERE
Skyrunning and the world series (SWS) elevated to new heights with an increased circuit that traveled the globe and the addition of the new Extreme series.
And finally (maybe), Donnie Campbell just recently set a new Winter Ramsay Round record to finish a very solid year!
So what have I missed?
I am well aware that I will have missed some key performances in 2016 and I welcome you commenting and letting me know. Of course, many performances, races or experiences will resonate on a personal level for you. I can think of many British performances that are worthy of a nod – Jo Meek’s 2nd at the CCC, Paul Giblin 5th at Western States, Joasia Zakrzewski’s medal at the 100k World Champs for example.
Episode 121 – On this weeks show we speak with ELS2900 race director, Matt Lefort, about his super tough Andorran race. Niandi brings us a selection of audio, recorded in the Simpson Desrert, as Australia’s 2016 Big Red Run took place. Ian is interviewed by a Portuguese magazine and Speedgoat is back co-hosting!
RUNNING BEYOND BOOK is now available in Germany, Spain, Italy and the English language versions will be posted out on November 3rd. News in that the book will now also be translated to Swedish – HERE
Marc Lauenstein defended his Otter African Trail Run title in South Africa, and set a new course record in 3:54. Robyn Owen and Stevie Kremerplaced 1 + 2 with Owen winning in 4:49 to Kremer’s 4:52. Full results.
BIG DOG BACKYARD ULTRA
A 4.16-mile loop of trail every hour. Those that finish the loop in an hour move on to the next loop and this continues until the last runner standing!Babak Rastgoufard won in 28:48 and gets a place in the Barkley Marathons.
Jon Albon becomes OCR world champion again
Centurion Running’s Autumn 100 had 2 course records from Mark Denby 14:07:39 and Susie Chesher 15:22 – Suzie was so quick she finished 2nd overall results here
6,700 meters of elevation gain over just 70k (44 miles). Thirty-nine competitors started the race, and 24 managed the improbable finish. Xavier Teixido, finished in front at 13:49. Vivien ReynaudandÒscar Perez were second and third in 15:18 and 15:38.
Sonia Regueiro became a two-time finisher and winner, this time 18:59, three hours faster than her finish last year, and Cati Lladó was second in 21:26.
00:54:56 INTERVIEW with ELS2900 RD – Matt Lefort
Pete Kostelnick if you don’t know already is aiming to break the trans-US running record, which stands at 46 days, 8 hours. Pete will likely finish in around 41 or 42 days early next week, which is utterly insane when you think about the fact that he could shave nearly five days off this record. He’s averaging 71 miles a day for the last 36 days, or in Aussie speak, that’s 114kms a day. Bowsers.Read HERE