Kilian Jornet expects to be very active this season. Far from weakening or taking a rest, the Cerdanya athlete has ahead of him several months in which the mantra is a mix of activities and a variety of situations. There’s everything on this summer’s menu, from expeditions to the Himalayas to trail running in the Pyrenees, as well as personal projects and the great trail running classics.
“I like a mix of things and this season is looking good because there’s a bit of everything, from the big Everest project to trail races, as well as personal projects and alpine running. I’m just as motivated as ever and keen to see what happens this season,” Jornet said.
Everest, in spring and with the 2016 experience under his belt
This year’s principal goal, as in 2016, is the attempt to climb to the roof of the world. Everest will be the peak that completes the Summits of My Life project, which since 2012 has seen him break records on mountains around the world.
In 2016, bad weather prevented Jornet and his team from attempting the climb but they’re trying again, this time in a different season. Instead of travelling to the Himalayas at the end of summer, the team will attempt it in spring, as Jornet explains: “We wanted to go in August because last year we liked the experience and the conditions, but we can’t get a permit. Last year we learnt a lot that we hope to put into practice this year. It’s certain to be a great experience.”
Trail running: going for the classics
On his return from Everest, whatever the result, Jornet begins a summer of racing. As he explained: “I’ve never lost the motivation to compete but the fact is that in recent years other projects have taken up my time. Races are an incentive to train and to give our best during a single day and so I plan to take part in several this summer.”
His first objective is the Marathon du Mont Blanc, in Chamonix, but, as he says: “I’m not sure if I’ll be able to take part because it will depend on how things stand after Everest, but I’ll go if I can because I like the race and the atmosphere.” After the Alps, Jornet doesn’t want to miss the race he has won for the past three years, the Hardrock. For Jornet, the legendary American race is: “The best ultra that I’ve taken part in, both for the course and the atmosphere. It’s a race I always want to run.” The Tromsö Skyrace returns in August, a race of which he is co-organiser and in which Jornet won’t be running but instead will be part of the organising committee.
The season’s big events come at the end of summer. On the one hand, Kilian Jornet will be among the participants in the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. In the race par excellence, Jornet hopes to battle it out with the world’s best runners. “It’s several years since I ran the UTMB and this year I’m keen to return because it looks like there’s going to be plenty of competition. It’s not often you find so many elite runners in a race like the UTMB which can be a beautiful and high-speed spectacle,” Jornet said.
But Jornet doesn’t want to miss the Salomon Ultra Pirineu either: “It’s my home race, where I began racing and where I’m always excited to return. The atmosphere there is really special.” In between he will travel to Scotland to run in the Glen Coe, an extreme race of which he says: “My companion Emelie ran it two years ago and she said I had to go because it’s wild and technical. Let’s see what happens and what the Scottish mountains bring.”
Personal projects: the call of the mountains
The season’s racing still leaves Kilian Jornet time for personal projects. Some are not yet finalised, but Jornet wants to join the Bob Graham Round Club. It’s not an easy club to join because first you have to complete a run across the 42 hills in the Lake District in the north of England, a total of 119km, with an overall ascent of 8,700m.
To be accepted into the club you have to complete the course in less than 24h, and the record is held by Billy Bland with a time of 13h53’.
As well as the Bob Graham Round, Jornet plans to do an alpine project in the Himalayas, before Everest. With his companion Emelie Forsberg, the pair will attempt an ascent to a summit in the Himalayas, in a light and minimalist style, their habitual approach to mountaineering.