KILIAN JORNET – The Human Carabiner

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

(Laughter)

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.

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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

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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?

(Laughter)

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?

Kilian Jornet-iancorless.com ©sebmontaz all rights reserved

Kilian Jornet-iancorless.com ©sebmontaz all rights reserved

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.

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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.

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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

Thanks

I would like to thank Kilian Jornet for his time and generosity.

Marino Giacometti and Lauri Van Houten from the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation)

Salomon Running

Seb Montaz

Jordi Saragossa

And all the wonderful races throughout the world that provides us all the opportunity to live our dreams.

Episode 62 – Comrades, Wardian, Meek, Clark

Ep62

Episode 62 of Talk Ultra ia a Comrades Special show. We have a full and in-depth interview with Michael Wardian who is looking for a top-10 placing. Live from Durban, we speak to Jo Kelsey (Meek) who is having her first experience of this race. Nick Clark joins us to discuss UTMF, WSER and the up and coming Salomon SkyRun South Africa. We have a ladies perspective on running with children in Talk Training. The News, a Blog and joining me as a special Comrades Marathon co-host we have 2013 7th placed lady, Holly Rush.

This show is dedicated to Manya Claassen – RIP

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‘As you all know, Niandi my partner has run Comrades 13-times. She has been on the show and discussed it… this year she returns for her 14th. IT IS THE ULTIMATE HUMAN RACE, you need to experience it to fully understand the emotions and the coming together of so many people. For Niandi, this year will be the hardest race ever, not only Comrades but of all the races she has done. I’m very sad to say that last week, Niandi’s sister, Manya, lost a 6-year long battle with cancer. Words can’t express the loss but despite everything she went through, she was and is one of the strongest ladies I have ever known. I remember Manya running Comrades with Niandi whilst in remission a few years ago. I was glued to the live feed whilst home in the UK. The emotions when she crossed the line will last with me forever… on June 1st, at the crow of the cockerel, Niandi will run one more time, not for herself but for her sister, her sisters children and her family… run strong, run free, run proud.’ Ian Corless
 
Niandi Carmont has asked that we read these words on her behalf:
 
Manya 
 
‘It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”
― Ursula Le Guin
She was so perky and positive. I’ll will remember her this way.
 
Sifting through my e-mail I came across this message by my sister. These were words she’d written about a friend who like herself had lost the struggle against breast cancer. Manya had helped the same friend complete the Manya-Tough-One, a race in honour of breast cancer survivors.
Manya called herself a survivor. She was both a survivor and tough. And she loved a challenge. Nothing would irk her more than the words You can’t do that! Once she put her mind to something she did it, irrespective of the difficulty and the dissuasive arguments.
She ran 3 Comrades 2000, 2003 and 2010 – the latter in remission from breast cancer! Manya climbed Kiliminjaro, trekked Europe’s toughest hike the GR20 in Corsica with me, flew over at the drop of a hat to hike the UTMB route, did a crash course on artificial slopes in South Africa to ski on the black slopes in the Alps, bought a road bike and entered the Argus for the fun of it, drove from Jo’burg along the Mozambican coast on her own, transported tons of cement in her SUV to lay the foundations of a house she was building whilst raising 2 generations of kids.
I can honestly say she had no regrets – she lived life to the full and loved life. Manya’s leitmotiv was Carpe Diem but at the same time she was generous and thoughtful of those she loved giving of her time and energy especially to her sons Nathan and Dylan who meant the world to her.
I will miss my little sister – as will her boys, her family and all her friends.
Niandi
 
NEWS
 
ZEGAMA
THIS IS SKYRUNNING…. WATCH THE VIDEO Can you imagine it, one day, hopefully these scenes in the Lakes, the Peaks, Welsh mountains HERE

Men

1. Kilian Jornet (Salomon) 3h48’38”

2. Marco De Gasperi (SCOTT Sports) 3h50’38”

3. Luis Alberto Hernando (adidas) 3h50’57”

4. Ionut Zinca (Valetudo Skyrunning Italia) 3h53’14”

5. Zaid Ait Malek (Buff) 3h55’06”

 

Women

1. Stevie Kremer (Salomon) 4h46’44”

2. Elisa Desco (SCOTT Sports) 4h50’21”

3. Maite Mayora (La Sportiva) 4h51’48”

4. Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) 4h52’11”

5. Kasie Enman (Salomon) 4h53’35”

 
TNF100 Australia
 
Men
  1. Stu Gibson – 9:31:11
  2. Andrew Tuckey (The North Face) – 9:31:??
  3. Brendan Davies (Inov-8) – 9:53:10
  4. Jonathan O’Loughlin – 9:53:30
  5. Ben Duffus (Hoka OneOne) – 9:56:16
Ladies
  1. Núria Picas (Buff) – 10:57:46
  2. Joelle Vaught (Montrail) – 11:45:15
  3. Fernanda Maciel (The North Face) – 11:47:52
  4. Gill Fowler (La Sportiva) – 11:56:01
  5. Claire Walton – 12:05:30
GUCR – 145 miles
 
1st Pat Robbins 26:20

2nd Jon Kinder 27:48
3rd Stuart Gillet 29:35
7th Isobel Wykes 31:18 (1st Lady)
14th Heike Bergman 33:18 (2nd Lady)
19th Natasha Farid-Doyle 34:35 (3rd Lady)
NDW50
Richard La Cock 7:05:12
John Melbourne 7:47:36
Thomas Jeffrey 7:52:40
Annabelle Streams 8:18:32
Gemma Carter 8:36:15
Deborah Turner 8:54:36
 
Speedgoat Karl Meltzer puts in another day at the office at the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run this past weekend.  Karl punched the clock for his 4th win at Massanutten in 18:40:23 extending his world record at the 100 Mile distance to 36 wins and counting.  Karl’s win comes on the heels of a 100k win and course record in early April at the Zion 100k. 
 
BLOG
 
INTERVIEW
Michael Wardian talk about his preparation for the 2014 Comrades
 
MELTZER MOMENT with Speedgoat 
 
INTERVIEW
 
Jo Meek speaks to us live from the Hilton, Durban just days before the race
TALK TRAINING with mum, Sue Fisher
 
INTERVIEW
Nick Clark talks UTMF, WSER and the up and coming Salomon SkyRun – https://iancorless.org/salomon-sky-run-south-africa/
 
UP & COMING RACES
 

Argentina

Fiambala Desert Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Fiambala Desert Trail 80K | 80 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Australia

New South Wales

Sydney Trailfest | 100 kilometers | June 06, 2014 | website

Queensland

Endura 50K | 50 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Gold Coast 50 Miler | 50 miles | June 08, 2014 | website

Runners ConneXion 100 km | 100 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Western Australia

Kep Track 100km Ultra Marathon II | 100 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Kep Track 75km Ultra Marathon II | 75 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Bhutan

The Last Secret | 200 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

Canada

British Columbia

Vancouver 100 km | 100 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Vancouver 50 km | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Vancouver 62.5 km | 62 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Vancouver 75.8 km | 75 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Vancouver 87.9 km | 87 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Ontario

Ragnar Relay Niagara Ontario | 192 miles | May 30, 2014 | website

Chile

Ultra Trail Putaendo | 60 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

China

Gobi March 2013 | 250 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Gobi March 2014 | 250 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Czech Republic

Craft Gemini Maraton | 84 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Mammut Ultramaraton | 85 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Denmark

Midtjylland

Nordisk eXtrem maraton X50 | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Nordisk eXtrem maraton X70 | 70 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Syddanmark

Bramming 100K Ultramaraton | 100 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Bramming 50K Ultramaraton | 50 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Finland

Western Finland

Perniön 60 km | 60 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

SUOMI-RUN 100 km | 100 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

France

Côtes-d’Armor

Trail de Guerlédan – 56 km | 56 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Haute-Savoie

Trail des Allobroges | 64 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Trail du Gypaète | 73 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Trail du Lac d’Annecy – Maxi Race | 86 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Trail du Lac d’Annecy – XL Race | 87 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Hautes-Pyrénées

Trail du Hautacam – 50 km | 59 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Week-end Trail Pyrénées | 60 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Haute-Vienne

Le Grand Trail du Limousin | 68 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Hérault

6666 Occitane | 105 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

Grand Raid Occitan | 165 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

Jura

La Transju’trail – 70 km | 72 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Lozère

Ultra Lozère | 108 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Manche

Ultra D Day Trail | 100 miles | June 12, 2014 | website

Orne

Trail du Massif d’Ecouves en Pays d’Alançon – 61 km | 61 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Pas-de-Calais

Trail des Pyramides Noires – 100 km | 100 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Euskal Trails – Ultra Trail | 130 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

Trail des Villages | 80 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

Trail Gourmand | 50 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

Saône-et-Loire

Ultra Trail de Côte-d’Or – 105 km | 105 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Var

Verdon Canyon Challenge – 110 km | 110 kilometers | June 13, 2014 | website

Vendée

100 km de Vendée | 100 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Germany

Baden-Württemberg

Schefflenzer Ultralauf – 100 km | 100 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Schefflenzer Ultralauf – 50 km | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Lower Saxony

EulenburgTrail 100 Meilen | 100 miles | May 30, 2014 | website

EulenburgTrail 96 km | 96 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

HiLL50 | 52 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

SchnupperUltra | 64 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

TorTour de Ruhr | 230 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Rhineland-Palatinate

Saar-Hunsrück-Supertrail | 128 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Ultra-Trail: 85 km, 2800 hm | 85 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Guadeloupe

Volcano Trail – Le Grand Raid | 51 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Hungary

Ultrabalaton | 212 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Italy

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Magraid | 100 kilometers | June 13, 2014 | website

Liguria

Avatrail | 50 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Piedmont

Trail del Monte Soglio – Gir Lung | 63 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Sardinia

Sardegna Lakes Trail | 150 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol

Vigolana Trail | 65 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Veneto

Dolomiti Extreme Trail | 53 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Japan

Hida Takayama Ultra Marathon -100 km | 100 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Hida Takayama Ultra Marathon – 72 km | 72 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Netherlands

Friesland

Pieter-ROG-pad Special Waddeneilanden | 300 kilometers | June 12, 2014 | website

New Caledonia

Ultratrail des Cagous | 80 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Norway

Romerike 50 | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Portugal

Caminhos do Tejo | 146 kilometers | June 13, 2014 | website

Romania

Fundu Moldovei 3-day staged 115km ultra | 115 kilometers | June 09, 2014 | website

Fundu Moldovei Ultra Romania | 115 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Slovakia

Štefánik Trail | 140 kilometers | June 13, 2014 | website

South Africa

Comrades Marathon | 89 kilometers | June 01, 2014 | website

Spain

Basque Country

Euskal Herria Mendi Erronka | 65 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Castile-La Mancha

Quixote Legend | 166 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

Catalonia

Trail Els Bastions® | 52 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Ultra Els Bastions® | 90 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Sweden

Jättelångt | 68 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Ladonia Crossing 100K | 100 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Ladonia Crossing 50K | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Switzerland

Berne

100km run Biel | 100 kilometers | June 13, 2014 | website

United Kingdom

Cornwall

Endurancelife Classic Quarter Ultra Marathon | 49 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Devon

Dartmoor Discovery | 32 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

East Sussex

Norman Conquest 100 | 108 miles | May 31, 2014 | website

Norman Conquest 50 | 51 miles | May 31, 2014 | website

Northamptonshire

Northants Ultra | 35 miles | June 01, 2014 | website

Northern Ireland

Mourne Way Ultra Marathon | 84 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Oxfam Trailtrekker Ireland – 50 km | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

USA

California

Big Basin Trail Run 50 km | 50 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Canyon Meadow 50 km Trail Run (May) | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

DRTE 100K | 100 kilometers | May 30, 2014 | website

DRTE 100 Mile | 101 miles | May 30, 2014 | website

San Diego 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Santa Barbara 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Shadow of the Giants 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Colorado

Golden Gate Dirty Thirty – 50K | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Connecticut

Trail 2 Trail Series Chatfield Hollow State Park 50K | 50 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Idaho

Pocatello 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Pocatello 50 Mile Trail Run | 51 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Kansas

Flint Hills Trail 40 Mile | 40 miles | May 31, 2014 | website

Massachusetts

TARC 100 | 100 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

TARC 100 – 50 Miler | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Michigan

Yankee Springs Trail Double Marathon | 84 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

New Jersey

Mayapple 100K Trail Run | 100 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Mayapple 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

New York

Cayuga Trails 50 | 50 miles | June 01, 2014 | website

North Carolina

Badwater Cape Fear | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie 50 Mile | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Ohio

Buckeye Buster 50 | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Buckeye Buster 50K | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Pennsylvania

Dawn to Dusk to Dawn 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | May 31, 2014 | website

Tennessee

Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race | 60 miles | June 13, 2014 | website

Utah

Squaw Peak 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Vermont

PEAK Ultra Marathon – 100 Miles | 100 miles | May 31, 2014 | website

PEAK Ultra Marathon – 50 miles | 50 miles | May 31, 2014 | website

Virginia

Old Dominion 100 Cross Country Run | 100 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge Washington, DC 50K | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge Washington, DC 50 Mile | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Washington

Beacon Rock 50k | 50 kilometers | June 08, 2014 | website

Echo Valley 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Echo Valley 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Rainier to Ruston 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Rainier to Ruston 50M Ultra | 50 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Vashon Island 50K Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Vashon Ultramarathon 50k | 50 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Wisconsin

Kettle Moraine 100 km Trail Run | 100 kilometers | June 07, 2014 | website

Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Trail Run | 100 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Kettle Moraine 38 Mile Night Fun Run | 38 miles | June 07, 2014 | website

Ragnar Relay Chicago | 194 miles | June 06, 2014 | website

CLOSE

ITunes http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/talk-ultra/id497318073

Libsyn – feed://talkultra.libsyn.com/rss

Website – talkultra.com

Ultra Running Review of the Year 2013

Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com

What an amazing time to be involved in the sport of ultra running! The once niche minority sport has exploded to greater heights and distances in 2013. No longer is a long beard and ‘Buff’ a pre requisite of ultra running (unless you’re Rob Krar). Clean cut, young, fast is the new ‘ultra runner’ mixing it up with the old guard.
Just think back to this time last year, had you heard of Zach Miller (not the Zach Miller, but, the Zach Miller; confused?), Michele YatesRob Krar, Magdalena Boulet and Xavier Thevenard.
Racing and the opportunity to race has also increased to the extent that it is now possible to race pretty much week in and week out for 12-months of the year. Of course, this brings pluses and minuses, certainly from an elite level, runners need to be far more savvy and race clever. You can no longer race month on month and expect to win. Races now have much higher quality fields and the pace is going up. The growth of Skyrunning has been instrumental in enticing a world audience to test runners of all abilities on tough, technical and high-terrain and the feedback has been incredible. UTWT have launched a series of races above the 100-km distance and in doing so have created a ‘trail’ circuit that offers multiple terrain in multiple locations all over the world. It will be interesting to see how the inaugural year goes when 2014 comes around.
So, what are the highlights of 2013?
Ultra Runner of the Year – Men and ladies
Rob Krar UROC ©iancorless.com
  • Lets start with Rob Krar. I interviewed Rob just after his incredible ‘FKT’ in the Grand Canyon early in 2013 when he put the Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim record at another level. At the time we discussed Western States, he was intimidated by the ‘Super Bowl’ of ultra and his first 100-miler. “I’ll give it a shot and see what happens”. Well, if you hadn’t noticed Rob pre WSER you did afterwards. Your not supposed to run WSER and get 2nd overall in your first attempt. UROC, Ultra Race of Champions was the final of the Skyrunner Ultra World Series and for some reason they had bestowed upon themselves the title, ‘The Ultra Running World Championship’. Mmmmm well, it certainly had a quality field but ‘World Championship’? I don’t think so. In the end it came down to a head-to-head between Dakota Jones and Rob Krar. Dakota looked as though he had it sewn up but on the final descent, Rob unleashed a pace that Dakota went on to say was ‘just crazy’. Rob took the win and a pattern was forming. We were all a little surprised to see Rob’s name on the start list for JFK50, primarily with TNF50 in San Francisco just two weeks later. As it happened, Rob dropped at around the 41-mile mark and went on to say that it was either ‘a great training run for TNF50 or the worst decision he had made in a while.’ It was a great training run! Rob ran a super calm, collected and mature race in San Francisco and when he took the front in the last fifth of the race he released a pace that was just incredible. Without doubt my ultra runner of the year!
Kilian Jornet and the Matterhorn ©iancorless.com
  • Of course, you can’t talk about male ultra runner and not mention Kilian Jornet. Kilian is a phenomenon. He is the star of our sport. Once again he was crowned Skyrunner World Ultra Series Champion with wins at Transvulcania and Ice Trail Tarentaise. In addition to this, Kilian was also champion of the ‘Sky’ series with 4 wins; ZegamaMont-BlancMatterhorn Ultraks and Limone Extreme. Add this a couple VK’s, a win at Canazei Sky race for the European Championships and a win at Trans D’Havet for the ‘Ultra’ Skyrunning European Championships and you would say the deal is done! But wait-a-minute, we haven’t mentioned his records for his ‘Summits’ project. A stunning new FKT for Chamonix-Mont-Blanc-Chamonix but arguably THE highlight of the year was his Matterhorn Summit. It was a sublime and surreal performance that put going to the mountains light on another level. It was without doubt my ‘moment’ of the year. You can read my ‘Matterhorn Summits Interview’ with Kilian here. Kilian is the most complete athlete I know.
Michele Yates - iancorless.com ©bradclayton

Michele Yates – iancorless.com ©bradclayton

  • Michele Yates hadn’t run an ultra before 2013. Who would have thought that Ms Figure Colorado 2008 would be such an awesome talent? Well her history shows that she is a 2x Olympic Trials Marathon Competitor, she has 9 marathon wins and PB of 2:38:37. To say Michele burst on the ultra scene would be an underestimation. Her win at Indiana Trail 100 (17:35:18) almost went unnoticed but then taking top spot and the $10,000 prize at Run Rabbit Run suddenly made every one stop, look around and take notice. Placing 3rd at UROC was another sign that Michele was no one trick pony but just like Rob Krar, Michele sealed a quality 2013 with a win at TNF50. She started that race from the front and never relinquished the lead until the line. Is Michele female ultra runner of the year? Well, I would have said yes. That is until the weekend of Dec 13th/ 14th(Listen to interview with Michele on the Christmas show of Talk Ultra, Ep51 out Dec 27th)
  • Pam Smith victorious at Western States turned up at the Desert Solstice track meet run by Aravaipa Running and not only took out the win for 12-hours on the track but set a new female record for 100-miles, 14:11:26. Take your pick, Michele or Pam; it’s a tough call.
Emelie Forsberg ©iancorless.com
  • But wait a minute, what about Emelie Forsberg. Emelie arrived on the run scene in 2012 and instantly had success, continually placing top-3 with Anna Frost and Nuria Picas. However the break through moment came ironically this time last year, she won TNF50 in San Francisco. This seemed to change everything, Emelie arrived at Transvulcania in May 2013 and won, she followed this up with a win in ZegamaCanazeiIce Trail TarentaiseMatterhorn UltraksUROC and then went on to run her first 100-miler at the super tough Diagonale de Fous (Raid de la Reunion) and place 2nd. Do you want to vote against Emelie?
Performances of the Year
tnfutmb 2013 ©iancorless.com
  • Rory Bosio blasted around the TNFUTMB course and in the process not only obliterated the female record but placed 7th overall. Her performance was nothing short of miraculous.
  • Jon Olson set a new American record for 100-miles on the track and then just as the year came to a close, Zach Bitter broke the record with an 11:47:21 but maybe even more important, Zach set a new World Record for 12-hours (101.66 miles) beating a Yiannis Kouros record. That does not happen very often! (Zach Bitter will be in the Christmas episode of Talk Ultra, Ep 51 out Dec 27th here)
  • I have already mention Kilian and the Matterhorn but it was so good I am mentioning it twice!
  • Timothy Olson went back to Western States and won again. You can win a race once but going back and doing it again is always a true sign of a champion.
  • Seb Chaigneau took a win and CR at Hardrock 100.
  • Nickademus Hollon became the youngest person ever to not only complete Barkley but also win it. You can listen to his interview on Talk Ultra here.
Julien Chorier Ronda dels Cims ©iancorless.com
  • Julien Chorier produced a sublime and calculated performance at the super tough Ronda dels Cims. It was a joy and a pleasure to watch someone control and dominate a race from the front and look good all the way.
  • Sage Canaday, jeez I missed him out and he definitely deserves a mention for BanderaTarawera, Transvulcania (3rd), Lake Sonoma and Speedgoat 50k.
 
Francesca Canepa ©iancorless.com
  • Francesca Canepa once again had an incredible year with a great performance at Ronda dels Cims but arguably a repeat win at Tor des Geants places her well and truly at the top on ‘endurance’ lady of the year!
  • Iker Karrera nailed Tor des Geants.
  • Ricky Lightfoot went over to South Africa and raced at The Otter and not only won but put the course record at a new level, in addition he won the IAU World Title in Wales.
 
tnfutmb 2013 ©iancorless.com
  • Xavier Thevenard took everyone, including himself, by surprise at TNFUTMB with a controlled and impressive performance against some top competition.
Jez Bragg TNFUTMB ©iancorless.com
  • Jez Bragg completed the Te Araroa in New Zealand. An incredible journey from the northern tip of New Zealand all the way down to the southern tip. Listen here.
  • David Johnston completed the Iditarod trail Invitational in 4 days 19 hours 13 mins.Crazy fast.
  • Ian Sharman and Nick Clark went head-to-head in the Grand Slam of Ultra Running and produced possibly the most exciting competition of 2013. The pair of them produced incredibly consistent performances and showed us all that it is possible to race four 100-milers back-to-back. They didn’t only ‘complete’ but they competed. They both won a race and were never out of the front rankings. Ian Sharman ultimately had the icing on the cake with the overall fastest time and a new Grand Slam record. Respect! Interview with Ian Sharman here.
  • Paul Giblin at the West Highland Way race. 15:07 and good beating of Terry Conway’s previous CR.
Stevie Kremer Limone Extreme ©iancorless.com
  • Stevie Kremer doesn’t do ultras but she is a darn fine trail and mountain runner and what ‘Pocket Rocket’ achieved in 2013 is nothing short of miraculous. Can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store.
  • Ed Catmur has continued to knock out some great 100-mile performances on the GB scene with wins at North Downs Way and the Winter 100.
  • Lizzie Wraith new female CR for the Lakeland 100 in the UK.
  • William Sichel keeps running and running crazy distances and setting new records.
  • Jonas Buud didn’t win Comrades in 2013 but he ran one of the best paced races I’ve ever witnessed. He was way back in the late 30’s and slowly moved up to 3rd. Wow! Notable mention to Brit ladies, Joanna Zakrezewski and Holly Rush who placed top-10.
Surprises of the Year
  • Rob Krar – Just one word sums up the bearded warrior ‘Krarnage’.
  • Zach Miller – no, not Zach Miller, but Zach Miller. Zach rocked up at JFK50, nobody knew him and he didn’t know anyone else. He took over the lead when Rob Krar dropped at mile 41. Not only did he win but also he set the 3rd fastest time ever. Interview with Zach here.
  • Xavier Thevenard – TNFUTMB was going to be won by Anton KrupickaMiguel HerasJulien ChorierSeb Chaigneau or Mike Foote. Somebody should have told them all about CCC winner, Xavier.
  • Michele Yates – wow, what a first year in the ultra world.
Who and what to watch out for in 2014
Cameron Clayton UROC ©iancorless.com
  • Cameron Clayton has found his feet, 2013 had some mixed performances but when everything aligns he races with the best. His TransvulcaniaUROC and TNF50 performances without doubt elevates him to ‘hot’ for 2014.
Luis Alberto Hernando Haria Extreme ©iancorless.com
  • Luis Alberto Hernando pushed Kilian close at Transvulcania, Zegama, finished joint first at Trans D’havet and won at Cavalls del Vent. In 2014 he plans to race TNFUTMB, now that will be interesting.
  • Magdalena Boulet had an ultra debut at TNF50 and placed 2nd. This sub 2:30 marathon runner may turn a few heads in 2014.
  • Brit, Stuart Air may raise a few eyebrows in 2014. He had a solid Ronda dels Cims, Ice Trail Tarentaise and Tor des Geants and for 2014 he has a Hardrock 100 slot!
  • Hardrock 100 had it’s draw and suddenly much of the WSER ‘lottery’ chat shifted focus to the field up at Silverton. The 2014 race is a classic in the making with Kilian JornetSebastian ChaigneauJulien ChorierJoe Grant and more. Excited? Just a little.
  • The Skyrunning World Championships take place in Chamonix with runners from all over the world coming to race VK, SKY and ULTRA in one of the endurance capitals of the world.
  • Beards – the jury is out. Are beards fast or slow? Rob Krar, Timmy Olson and ‘Clarky’ are certainly great advocates for hairy running but Kilian, Cameron, Sage provide a strong counter argument. What are your thoughts?
And finally…
 
A review of any year is going to be personal. Without doubt we will all have our own highlights and favourite moments, so, I would love to read your thoughts.
Please use the form below.
Ian Corless ETR ©iancorless.com
On a personal note, 2013 was an incredible year, I feel blessed with all the opportunities I have had. To witness many of the moments I write about is a great pleasure. Of course, it’s nothing without you folks reading, looking at my photographs or listening to my podcast.
A very BIG thank you from me.
Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2014 awaits us all…
LINKS:
Photography from 2013 races HERE
IMAGES book HERE
Calendar HERE
Podcasts HERE