Jason Schlarb is ‘the man!’ – Let’s face it, anyone who can go head-to-head with ‘KJ’ and finish alongside him at Hardrock 100 is doing something right. Jason just placed 3rd at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica and while we downed one or three ‘Imperials’ we discussed what 2017 has in store.
On February 18th, Hayden Hawks will toe the line of Moab’s Red Hot 50k. If I was a betting man, I’d be having a punt and naming Hawks as the victor. Yes, this guy is on fire – he proved it in December when he pushed Zach Miller all the way to the line at San Francisco 50. Zach took the day and the $10.000 prize purse but the duo both went under the old course record, as Hawks says, “I broke the course record by over 10 minutes and did everything that I possibly could today but Zach just had a little more than me.”
But who is this 25-year old from Utah? In 2016 he burst on the scene with victory at Speedgoat 50K, sponsorship with Hoka One One followed and victory at Capstone 50K in November laid the foundations for that very memorable head-to-head with Miller.
“I am excited to get going this year. To be honest with you, right now, I’m ready to race and I’m just getting anxious, I want to race so bad and I want to travel so bad but for now I need to get a good base in training and then I’m going to go out there and be ready to go…!”
Read the full and in-depth interview with Hayden Hawks on IRUN4ULTRA HERE
‘Western States definitely was the race of my life. Everything came together so perfectly that day. I had a once in a lifetime race day experience. I had only dreamed of winning Western States and wanted some day for that to happen. All the stars aligned and I could win. To be among the winners list is surreal…I admire and respect all those women and men who have won. It’s such an honour to have my name listed as a winner of Western States 100.’
Kaci Lickteig ran her first ultra in 2012 aged 25-years. A small lady, she does pack a punch. It’s all wonderfully echoed by her nickname ‘Pixie Ninja’ – that sums up Kaci in a nutshell.
Some may say, 3rd time is a charm. It certainly is the case with Western States 100. The rise of this lady has been gradual but logical – 6th in 2014, 2nd in 2015 and yes, you’ve guessed it, top spot in 2016. The ‘WSER’ is rolling course, which begins in Squaw Valley, California. It climbs more than 5500m and descends nearly 7000m before reaching the finish in Auburn some 100-miles later. It’s the ‘Grail of Trail!’
“MIRA” is a gem among the many ultrarunning movies that are currently available. It’s a simple story that pulls at the heart, inspires and at all times remains humble. The movie, like Mira started small and has grown.
In 2014, Mira was unknown, but through the insight of Trail Running Nepal, Richard Bull and Lizzy Hawker, Mira found a home and a story started to unfold. Like any flame, if you provide the right conditions, the flame will grow, increase and yes, even rage.
In February 2015,Lloyd Belcher started to work on this project. Like any project of this nature, it was a risk. Would Mira perform, would the film find the funding required to complete it. Lloyd sums it up so well when he recently said:
“Thank you to all who believed in the value of this project when we started filming in Feb 2015 without any money but a vision of how we wanted to reach girls in Nepal with Mira’s inspirational story. So many have joined us on this journey and given in so many ways.”
The film is the story about Mira, a Nepali village girl on her pursuit to becoming a world-recognised mountain runner while racing primarily in the 2015 Skyrunner World Series.
I have to say, I have been more than fortunate to witness Mira’s growth, not only from the outside looking in but also on the trails as I have documented in words and images her inspirational rise in the sport.
The ridges, mountains and technical trail of Tromso, the stunning Italian Dolomites and the Spanish mountains in and around Ultra Pirineu. Mira inspired through her humility, her no-nonsense approach and a very simple approach to life. When you watch MIRA you realise why.
Unlike many other running movies, MIRA is just a great story. It’s inspiring and at times heart breaking. A fascinating watch, Mira’s life journey is told on film; from growing up in remote Nepalese countryside with poverty, a 2-year stint in the army and a brave solo move to Kathmandu. Victory at an impromptu 50km race made Richard Bull, stop, ask questions and suddenly help Mira (along with Lizzy Hawker) take the first steps on a compelling story to competing with the best in the world.
MIRA is a film for all, runner or not, it’s just great story telling!
Watch the trailer
But most importantly rent and watch the movie. Proceeds will directly benefit initiatives to empower Nepali girls to participate in sports.
The 2016 edition of the UTMB will take place this August, for 13-years the race has made a rendezvous in the endurance capital of the world, Chamonix!
In preparation for the 2016 edition, the organisation have just announced the elite level competitors that will compete, head-to-head, with 7500 runners over the four races – CCC, OCC, TDS and UTMB.
The main event, the UTMB, is a 170km journey that takes in 3 countries with a total elevation gain of 10,000m. A time limit of 47 hours is provided to give the 2300 runners an opportunity to complete the journey.
Now in anyones book, that is a quality ladies line-up. The most notable name missing is of course Nuria Picas. I have highlighted the hot favourites for overall victory and definite wild card of Jasmin Paris for a surprise podium place.
Luis Alberto Hernando
WOW! That may well be THE elite field assembled in any race ever… It’s a seriously exciting line-up and just look at how many bold names are in that line-up! In all honesty, the whole list could be bold as victory could come from anywhere.
So with several months to go, we have already seen Caroline Chaverot and Didrik Hermansen lay down seriously strong performances at Transgrancanaria.
Elite line-ups for TDS, CCC and OCC are as follows:
Notable names in the TDS are Ruth Croft and Lisa Borzoi for the ladies and in the men’s race, Franco Colle, Pau Capell, Travis Macy and Sondre Amdahl amongst others.
CCC ones to watch: Jo Meek, Holly Rush and Manikala Rai fo the ladies and Sage Canaday, Michel Lanne and Freddy Thevenin amongst others for the men’s race.
Who in your opinion will make top 3 in the respective male and female races at the 170km UTMB event?
25,000 m D+ 200 miles Start and Finish Cogne, Aosta Valley – Italy
BREAKING NEWS March 15th 2016
THE JUDGE ACCEPTS THE APPEAL OF VDA TRAILERS AND RESTRICTS THE 4K
Regarding the Tor des Géants ® – Regione Valle d’Aosta issue, The Ordinary Tribunal of Turin – Company Division has accepted the appeal presented by VdA Trailers.
The Tribunal of Turin considers the actions of the Region regarding Vda Trailers and the Tor des Géants® to be damaging and harmful and considers the 4K race organized by the Region to be harmful of the rights of VdA Trailers and of the normal operation of the Tor des Géants ®2016, since it overlaps it regarding route, length, altitude difference and duration.
Specifically, the Tribunale prohibits, effective immediately, the Autonomous Valle d’Aosta Region and the Forte di Bard Association from accepting registrations and collecting the related registration fees for the “4k Alpine Endurance Trail Valle d’Aosta” event planned from September 3 – 9, 2016.
In addition, the Tribunal prohibits the Autonomous Valle d’Aosta Region and the Forte di Bard Association from making any reference to the “Tor” or the “Tor des Géants” in the presentation, promotion and publicizing of the “4k Alpine Endurance Trail Valle d’Aosta” event, including the use of the expression and the brand of “Tor des Géants®”.
Finally, the Tribunal prohibits the Autonomous Valle d’Aosta Region and the Forte di Bard Association from engaging in any actions which might hinder the organization or execution of the Tor des Géants®, such as that, in particular, of issuing declarations aimed at leading people to believe that the Tor des Géants®2016 will not be held, or that it has been or will be replaced by another event organized by the Region, or to make declarations regarding the “limited safety” of the “Tor des Géants”.
This decree has become law with immediate effect.
The Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley is organising an endurance trail running event to be raced clockwise along the Alte Vie 1 and 2 high-mountain trails, at an altitude between 300 and 3,300 msl. A 350 km circuit with 25,000 m. elevation gain which starts and ends in Cogne, in the heart of the Gran Paradiso National Park.
It was the need to make the best use of all the various synergies involved and to focus particularly on the safety and spectacularity of the competition that prompted the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley to launch its own project, taking over the organisation of the event and actively involving the whole territory.
These are the main innovations:
Obligatory GPS device provided to every runner
Possibility of participating individually or in pairs
Greatest possible care taken in laying out the course
Obligatory small crampons, supplied in the race bag
Monetary prizes for those who finish in the first few places in the overallrankings according to the Itra Regulations
Alternative routes available in the event of bad weather
Random antidoping tests
Skin Tattoo with the route elevation profileThe competition can accept up to a maximum of 1,200 runners and is a semi self-sufficiency event. In order to enter, athletes must be at least 21 years old in 2016. Accompaniment is permitted, without transport service or transfer of material.The route highlights key elements of the Region’s rich historical, cultural and natural heritage: as well as the famous Fortress of Bard it touches on well- known tourist destinations such as La Thuile, Courmayeur, Breuil – Cervinia, Champoluc, Gressoney and Cogne, and also gives both athletes and spectators the chance to discover some rather less renowned but outstandingly beautiful spots.The most precious contribution will come from the over 2000 volunteers who will be supporting and assisting the athletes along the route and together with them at least 100 mountain experts. A compact group with a single grand objective: to ensure that the race is a unique and unforgettable experience for everyone and that it takes place in the safest possible conditions.
Illustrious, silent spectators of the event, the majestic “4K” of the Aosta Valley: Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Monte Rosa and Gran Paradiso.
The race will take runners on an unforgettable journey amidst the marvels of the Aosta Valley Alps, in the company of warm, friendly crowds of spectators who will be lining the route to cheer them on. An extreme experience awaits them, a real physical, introspective and emotional voyage in which mental as well as physical endurance will be a decisive factor.
4K Alpine Endurance Trail Valle d’Aosta is a tough, fascinating competition, raced in a breathtaking natural setting. Ready to accept the challenge?
Pre-registration opens on the 1st of March 2016 at 12 noon on the site http://www.4kvda.com and will close on the 25th march 2016 at 12 pm. The draw is due to take place on the 26th of March at 1 pm.
The registrations can be accomplished from the 27th march 2016 to the 20eth april 2016.
Individual participation fee: € 550,00
As a footnote, I am a little confused! the Tor des Geants despite rumours of being cancelled (?) has gained sponsorship from Montane and (according to the website) is still scheduled to take place in September. 2400m and 330km in the valley Aosta….
Press release from Scott Running re the Scott ELS 2900 Alpine Run
Race directors: Matt Lefort and Carles Rossell
You can listen to two interviews on Episode 99 of Talk Ultra podcast, one with Matt Lefort and the other with 3rd placed runner, Andy Symonds. The show will be released Fri 13th Nov and will be available on this website and on iTunes HERE
At midnight on October 31st, the 37 participants of the inaugural edition of the SCOTT Els2900 Alpine Run started from the Refugi Estanys de la Pera. Their goal, link all 7 peaks over 2900m high in Andorra, in less than 24h.
Unlike other ultra running events, participants were required for sole mandatory equipment a phone, a harness, two 60cm runners and a minimum of two carabiners. The rest was up to the athletes, leaving everyone’s personal experience dictate what to bring to move as fast and light as possible without putting one’s life at risk. So is the true essence of the sport, initiated 25 years ago by a handful of pioneers who did run up and down Mount Blanc and Monte Rosa. Such legends, Pep Ollé and Matteo Pellin, were actually involved into setting up the ropes to secure the Cresta dels Malhiverns section.
Even though the risk factor is never down to zero being out in the mountains, the race organizers lowered it considerably by carefully selecting each participant based on their experience in such terrain. This is how elite athlete were denied entry, while much less popular yet highly skilled mountain people made the cut to create a crowd of humble and like minded peers.
The 70km route took the most direct line between each peaks, amounting a gruelling 6800m of elevation gain, through rocky cols, over exposed ridges, steep couloirs and even a via ferrata section that was performed at night.
At this game, Jokin LIZEAGA (ESP) was the best on the day, taking the win in14h48, followed by Nicolas DARMAILLACQ (FRA) in 15h37 and Andy SYMONDS (UK) in 16h11 wrapping up the mens podium. The woman’s fields made of two at the start line will only see Sonia REGUEIRO RODRIGUEZ (ESP) cross the finish line at the Refugi de Coma Pedrosa in 21h51, crowning her 2015 winner of the SCOTT Els2900 Alpine Run.
True camaraderie was shown until the end where race winner Jokin welcomed the last out of the 22 runners who completed the course (Paul Marie, FRA) and popped a bottle of Cava with the whole crew who had joined to witness the scene.
Episode 96 has a full and in-depth with Hillary Allen, rising star of the Skyrunning ranks. We also speak with Marie-Paul Pierson who takes on the challenge of her lifetime: Atacama. We have the News, Up and Coming Races and Speedboat is back!
Mention for Debbie Martin Consani who placed 5th and in 30:36 and Isobel Wykes 7th in 32:33. Plus a huge congrats to Marvellous Mimi Anderson who placed14th lady in 35:07:41 and then ran back and did the double!
1 – Uxue Fraile 25:34:02
2 – Fernanda Maciel 26:44:25
3 – Aliza Lapierre 26:44:25
1 – Gediminas Grinius 20:40:58
2 – Arnaud Lejeune 21:54:51
3 – Jeff Browning 22:01:01
1 – Mick Jurynec 19:01
2 – Dominiick Layfield 20:35
3 – Jesse Haynes 20:35
1 – Angela Shartel 22:34
2 – Cat Bradley 23:04
3 – Jenn Shelton 24:27
RUN RABBIT RUN 100
1 – Jason Schlarb 18:05
2 – Bob Shebest 19:13
3 – Andrew Skurka 20:12
1 – Emma Roca 21:42
2 – Emily Richards 22:00
3 – Kerrie Bruxvoort 22:54
1 – Kilian Jornet 12:03
2 – Zaid Ait Malek 12:12
3 – Miguel Heras 12:20
1 – Emelie Forsberg 13:39
2 – Mira Rai 13:43
3 – Nuria Picas 14:13
IAU 100k CHAMPS
1 – Jonas Buud 6:22
2 – Asier Cuevas 6:35
3 – Giorgio Calcaterra 6:36
1 – Camille Heron 7:08
2 – Kasja Berg 7:20
3 – Marlja Vrajic 7:27
1 – Magdalena Boulet 10:03:29
2 – Larisa Dannis 10:25:41
3 – Kaci Lickteig 10:56:22
1 – Justin Houck 8:53:22
2 – Mario Mendoza 9:12:09
3 – Ford Smith 9:47:17
Tor des Giants was stopped due to bad weather, Patrick Board did complete the course though in 80 hours 20 minutes. Denise Zimmerman was declared the ladies champion.
Andrew Hamilton set a new FKT for the Nolans 14 of 53 hours 39 mins – 1 hour better than John Robinsons previous FKT.
RUNNER tells a story, it uncovers a journey of the physical, mental and emotional challenges that runners go through at the edge of human endurance. From a school girl running on the streets of London to breaking records on the worlds mountains and toughest races, Lizzy Hawker is an inspiration to anyone who would like to see how far they can go, running or not.
“Lizzy never ceases to enthuse, inspire and amaze! She knows what it truly means to live life to the absolute fullest, step out of your comfort zone and truly test your limits. So much more than a book about running, this memoir is about an enthralling life journey replete with peaks and troughs, highs and lows and many twists and turns. Most importantly, Lizzy reminds all of us to never stop exploring, discovering and challenging ourselves to do more than we think possible.” – Chrissie Wellington MBE
Lizzy Hawker needs no introduction. Often called the Queen of UTMB, her running has inspired many… me included. Her ability to run tough, relentless mountain trail races has also been matched with road running.
100km Women’s World Champion, five times winner of the UTMB, record holder for the 24-hour and the first woman to stand on the overall winners’ podium at the iconic Spartathlon; Lizzy is a formidable force irrespective of the distance or terrain.
Lizzy’s remarkable spirit was recognised in 2013 when she was awarded National Geographic Adventurer of the Year award for running 320km in the Himalayas from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu.
RUNNER provides an insight into the mind of one of the most inspiring ladies in the ultra world, Lizzy Hawker.
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.
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.