Kilian Jornet, 2015 Hardrock 100 Champion, Finish-Line Interview

For the second-straight year, Kilian Jornet dominated the Hardrock 100 course. After setting the course record in the clockwise direction last year, he broke Sébastien Chaigneau’s counterclockwise record by winning in 23:28:10. In this finish-line interview, Kilian talks about getting lost on the course, what he thought of going in the counterclockwise direction this year, and taking photos while he was racing.

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Kilian Jornet, 2015 Hardrock 100 Champion, Finish-Line Interview Transcript

Interviewer: So we hear you got lost in Oscar’s.

Kilian Jornet: Yes, it was my mistake because I had the GPS, so I don’t know why when I got lost in the snow, I kept going instead of taking the GPS and look where it was. So it was stupid of me.

Interviewer: How much time do you think you lost?

Jornet: I don’t know. I don’t know how long of a time it was.

Interviewer: Did you start going faster after you got lost?

Jornet: No, I went the same pace. I had a problem with the headlamp. It was very stupid of me because I had the track in the phone.

Interviewer: Was there any part of the course that was really hard? Did you struggle at any point or did it all go smoothly?

Jornet: Yeah, sure. The last part to… what’s the name… when you go to U.S. Grant?

Interviewer: Grant-Swamp.

Jornet: Yes, the last part is so loose rock and then the snow was strange because it was soft and crusty, so when you break it through it was for falling easy.

Interviewer: What was your favorite part of the course?

Jornet: Yesterday it was beautiful. We came to Virginius and it was the sunset. We spent maybe eight minutes or 10 minutes just looking and to eat a lot and it was amazing. It was with Rickey Gates in the moment. It was really cool.

Interviewer: Rickey went in with you to Telluride. You did not need a pacer going out of Telluride?

Jornet: No, we were talking yesterday with Rickey if he wanted to pace. He said yes, and I think he hadn’t been sleeping much for the last days. So, he was sleepy tired I think.

Interviewer: Did you take any good pictures this year?

Jornet: I took some, yeah. Rickey with the big camera, so he took better ones.

Interviewer: Was it colder this year for you? It rained on you a lot?

Jornet: Yeah, absolutely. The temperature was great for running because when you go down to Ouray it’s normally really warm, or last year it was really warm and it takes a lot of energy. Being this cold, it’s okay. The storms weren’t bad. There was a lot of storms but they were like 20-minute storms or a 30-minute storm and then 40 minutes of sun again but never really bad.

Interviewer: Did running in Alaska work to your benefit?

Jornet: Not benefit for sure because my legs were probably a bit tired from that I feel because it was long. But, yeah, I don’t think it changed about how I did or not.

Interviewer: How did you compare clockwise versus counterclockwise?

Jornet: Both are beautiful, actually, because when you do this side, you’re looking in front and you don’t have eyes in back, so it’s nice to do the other side to see it the other way. Then it’s beautiful that the day part changes. The day part today was the night part last year and vice versa. It’s beautiful. This is much more… the uphills are probably more runnable and the downhills more steep and the other.

Interviewer: Do you feel this direction is harder?

Jornet: I don’t know. I think “it’s harder” depends on how you feel. If you feel good then it doesn’t matter if it’s hard; if you feel bad, it’s worse.

Interviewer: Do you think you’ll come back to Hardrock or do you think, You have two course records and this is good enough?

Jornet: No, it’s a race to do for years and see people that have been doing it for years not for the wins. It’s a race you want to go back to because of the ambiance and it’s a nice course—it’s much more of those.

Interviewer: How would you compare this course to some of the famous courses in Europe?

Jornet: Compared to other hard ones? It’s pretty technical. I think the altitude is very important, too. You cannot run fast, like many uphills here you need to walk but at lower elevation you can run. This is a big thing here. You always feel the last part of the summits that you don’t have the same speed than other parts. It’s interesting, that. Then, it’s really wild. It’s beautiful. We saw so many animals during the race, and the landscapes are beautiful. Then it has some roads but it has a lot of part that is small trail or off trail which is not really common there. I think like it says if the weather… in Europe there are many races if we have bad weather they just cancel or postpone. We are in the mountains and we need to deal with it, or if you want to stop, you stop and make a decision.

Interviewer: What is the word for ‘wild’ in Catalunya?

Jornet: There’s not much wild in Catalunya. There are so many people and so much roads. Yeah, it’s… you can say “salvatge.”

Interviewer: Did you see any wildlife up there—animals?

Jornet: Yes, some elk (a lot of elk), porcupine, birds… we saw lots of snow. [To Rickey Gates:] Are you awake?

Rickey Gates: I just woke up!

Interviewer: You said a couple years ago that this was a big goal of yours. What do those records mean to you?

Jornet: The records mean nothing but to be here and be part of the race is the thing that is important.

Interviewer: Another big difference in Europe, required gear is very common. There is no required gear here.

Jornet: No, I think it’s the same as we say with the weather. Here, today I carried a Goretex jacket, a really thick one, gloves, beanie, and food and things that you must need. I think it’s a problem in Europe, mandatory gear. People don’t know how to use a blanket. How many people know how to use a space blanket? Not many know how to use well. Everyone has one in their backpack, but it’s not useful. They need a jacket (wind), but it’s raining and not good. I think the good thing here is that you need to think about what to take because of the conditions, and you learn more doing this than if you already have the pack and you don’t think why you are taking something or not.

Interviewer: Self-sufficiency.

Jornet: Yeah, I think it’s about that, being in the mountains.

Interviewer: Do you think more people from Europe are going to try to enter Hardrock?

Jornet: I hope. It’s an amazing race. The spirit is really different from Europe races. It’s really enjoyable.

Interviewer: We’re kind of missing the band playing, aren’t you?

Interviewer: What would you like to say about Hardrock? Is there anything in particular that’s moving you that you’d like to say?

Jornet: I think it’s all the people who are part of the race because the mountains are beautiful, but there are many mountains around the world. The course is great, but all the aid-stations’ people are amazing. It’s really cool, and that’s what makes the difference.

Interviewer: Did you have a shot of Tequila?

Jornet: Actually, I just put the lips in. I was a bit tired at this moment, but Rickey Gates take both.

Interviewer: Kilian, what are your next two events?

Jornet: I organize a race, too. Last year I organized it first and we realized how hard it is to organize a race. It’s much, much more tired. Now, I can be tired from the race, but it’s nothing compared to these guys.

Dale Garland: I’ll put you on my board of directors.

Jornet: I have one race; I can’t organize anymore.

Garland: Thank you, everybody, for coming. Congratulations to Kilian.

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