Kilian Jornet is just about to begin a well-deserved holiday break after making history again with a magnificent trail running season. The athlete has been all over Europe to take part in various races and has also travelled to the USA to compete on two occasions. Jornet has taken part in different race types and modalities throughout the season motivated by the diverse race lengths and landscapes, which are very different from his usual training scene.
The athlete has won most of the races, has made great performances and lived many personal experiences. On his record are two gold medals in the vertical kilometre in the world championships and in ski running, as well as the World Cup in three modalities: sky running, ultra running and vertical kilometre. An unbeatable record which shows the exceptional physical condition of the Catalan athlete: "Achieving these titles makes this a perfect year. Maybe it's the experience or the fact that I had very good sensations throughout the winter but, in any case, this is the end of a great season. I’m pleased about having been able to participate in so many varied races in places with incredible landscapes and where I have met many people. At the end of the day, this is the essence of trail running and what drives me to continue competing."
2014 Season: 14 races around the world
Throughout the season, Kilian Jornet has also had his challenge in the Summits of My Life project: the climb to Mount McKinley (6,194m) on skis, very much in mind. "It was a great adventure. We spent a few weeks week at Denali base camp and, despite the bad weather, we beat the record." Jornet set the record at 11h48 '.
The trail running season began in May, with Kilian’s participation in the Transvulcania (83km, 8,525m D+), where he obtained second position behind Luis Alberto Hernando: "It was a very interesting race, which I was facing with little training in trail and where Luis Alberto performed a great role. As always, the atmosphere in La Palma was amazing and that helped me to achieve the goal, as I was struggling a bit at the end." After La Palma, Jornet did not want to miss one of his favourite races, the Zegama Aitzgorri (42km and 3,835 D+): "It was a very special race, getting the seventh win in Zegama and also beating the record. It was a target I had had for some time and it was a great joy to accomplish in a hotly contested race." The athlete, fully recovered, set the record at 3:48:40.
The Sky running World Championship (42km and 2,511m D+) was held in June in Chamonix. The Catalan achieved double victory, in sky running and in vertical kilometre. "I did not expect to be at this level. It was a very positive surprise, especially in the vertical kilometre. Achieving this double victory is something special and I could not feel happier about this World Championship", said Jornet.
In July Jornet had the opportunity to take part in a race he had had in mind for several years: the Hardrock (160km and 20,722km D+). Jornet, not only won this American race, which can only be accessed on a strict lottery basis, but he also managed to beat the race record: "Of all the races I had wanted to take part in since I was a child, this was the only one I had left. It is a very special race, tough and wild, in which I felt very good. It was almost the perfect race.", explained Kilian Jornet. On his return from the USA, Jornet did not want to miss the Dolomites Skyrace (22km and 1,750m D+), a classic race in the calendar, where he also won in the vertical kilometre modality: "I did not expect this victory because I thought I had not fully recovered from the Hardrock. But I was happy to win in Canazei. It is a place I always enjoy coming back to." Then there was Italy, the athlete participated in the classic Giir di Mont (32km and 2,400m D+ and -), accumulating six wins in seven races: "The Giir di Mont is a race that I love, as you can experience a true mountain atmosphere. I was very happy to win again, the assessment of the season so far is really positive."
August came and so did Sierre Zinal (31km and 2,200m D+), a very fast race, disputed by athletes from different disciplines. Jornet won and explained: "Sierre Zinal is one of the mythical Sky running races and winning here is always a challenge because there are big rivals. In addition, I am gradually scoring points towards the Sky running Championship." Despite missing the following World Cup race in Matterhorn Ultracks, Jornet had automatically won the title in August, leaving his rivals with no chances to catch him up in the last two races.
Despite winning the Sky running Championships, there was the ultra running and the vertical kilometre still to go. In ultra running the next race was Kima (52km and 4,200m D+), a biannual event Jornet always has fond memories of: "Kima is one of my favourite races, as it is technical and demanding. It was nice to add another victory and beat the record, in a true sky running environment."
In September Jornet flew to America to race The Rut (50km and 3,000m D+), the last round of the Ultra running Championship: "The Rut was a nice discovery; a demanding and technical race. I liked winning the race, but was especially happy to get the Championship, which for me is a reward for regularity." With this victory, Jornet also achieved his second championship of the season, that of ultra running. The athlete also won in the vertical kilometre and placed himself first in the rankings. His victory yesterday in Limone helped him to win this second title, which was lacking in his large collection of trophies and which also, once again, confirms him to be the fittest and most versatile athlete of the Championship.
After many years at the top in trail running, some may wonder what it is that continues to motivate Jornet to participate in races and compete in championships: "For me the important thing about all this is the people, we are a big family with whom I always enjoy good moments. We are equal because we like to suffer, to give everything, to swtich off our brain and run. At the starting line we are all equal, and this is what I still like about this sport."
Some well deserved days off are beginning now, before preparations start for the great remaining challenge this year: the record attempt on Aconcagua, as part of the project Summits of My Life.