Kilian Jornet is back to one of his favorite races, the Zegama Marathon, for the 9th time. In this pre-race interview, we chat about his “taper” week before the race, his Everest plans, and how his year will go after here.
For more on the race, read our 2016 Zegama Marathon preview.
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Kilian Jornet Pre-2016 Zegama Marathon Interview Transcript
Pre-2016 Zegama: Kilian Jornet
iRunFar: Mauricio Pagliacci of iRunFar here with Mr. Kilian Jornet before the 2016 Zegama-Aizkorri. Kilian, How are you?
Kilian Jornet: Hi, everybody. Really good.
iRunFar: Really good. Done with the skis now?
Jornet: Yeah, I’m really just done with the skis. Until two days ago I was skiing with conditions in Norway, so not many runs this year. But it’s alright because I want to be in Zegama.
iRunFar: It’s one of your only two races in the year… well, scheduled races?
Jornet: Yeah, I will maybe do some small races maybe close to home if it fits in, but only… the plan this summer is to climb much more, to do more mountaineering before we go to Everest. So running, I was just thinking to do Zegama and Hardrock—yeah, much less running this year than others.
iRunFar: When are you planning to go to Everest actually?
Jornet: The plan is to go there in August to stay there for the fall.
iRunFar: And doing it from the China side?
Jornet: Yes, the north side. Yeah, we go all the team together with Seb [Montez] and the guys.
iRunFar: Just for any reason going through China or just because?
Jornet: Yeah, the idea to go through China is because the north face is where it can be less technical other than the normal ropes. We wanted to go for the normal routes to be more like alpine routes and to be alone in the mountain. That’s why we decided to go the north face and then we decided which route, North Col or another couloir there.
iRunFar: How was your taper week for Zegama?
Jornet: The week was pretty… a big week because I was actually filming for Freeski TV, so it’s not the same as running fast, but yeah, it was cool. On the mountain, we did a low crossing, like 6,500 meters, with 15 hours skiing with technical terrain. The last few days was skiing some steep couloirs. In between I could play some and run to start to run a bit before the race.
iRunFar: How do you see the competition this year? It’s really stacked related to other years.
Jornet: Yeah, Zegama has always had a big level and it’s interesting because the first years I was coming here, it was… I was the kid at the table with Ricardo Mejia, Agusti Roc, [Mario] Poletti, [Raul] Garcia [Castan], and all these guys. I was the kid. Today, with Tom Owens at the table I was “Wow, we are the oldest ones here.” It’s interesting to see all these young guys coming strong. I think tomorrow it will be really, really cool, because it’s different generations all together.
iRunFar: It’s actually weird because you’re not that old. You’re 28? But they’re 20!
Jornet: Yeah, really young. Remi Bonnet is 20, Manuel Merillas is 25—really, really young people, but really strong.
iRunFar: How do you see the whole world has changed, the whole ultrarunning world has changed since you started at that age and you were the young guy, and now you see all these kids?
Jornet: Yeah, it changed. It’s interesting. It’s beautiful to see. It’s a sport that was a long time ago a sport that was mostly for old people. Today, you see the young guys have interest in that and they have fun in the mountains, and to see that, it’s really cool. It’s nice to see races like that attract to young people. Yeah, that’s a really cool thing.
iRunFar: The last one, weather? What are expecting?
Jornet: Today, it was so hot and dry; it was not looking like Zegama. It was looking more like Western States. Hopefully, and the forecast says that, tomorrow is to be cold and rain. So for me, it’s better, because I haven’t run too much. If I want to have a chance in front of other runners like Remi Bonnet or these guys, I think we need a lot of rain and a lot of cold. Yeah, hope the weather will be like that, like Zegama.
iRunFar: But it should stop for the evening for the after…?
Jornet: Yes, after the race, I don’t think it matters much because if it’s raining a lot you don’t feel the rain, so I don’t think it matters. Zegama is the race, but after the race it’s almost harder.
iRunFar: It’s harder, right? Thank you very much for your time, and have an awesome day tomorrow.
Jornet: Thank you very much.