Kilian Jornet won the Hardrock 100 for the third-straight year, except this year he did it along side Jason Schlarb. In the following interview, Kilian talks about how he approaches the highs and lows in a 100-mile race, how he and Jason decided to finish together, and what he hopes to accomplish soon on Mount Everest.
[For more on how this year’s Hardrock 100 went down, including additional resources, check out our 2016 Hardrock 100 results article.]
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Kilian Jornet, 2016 Hardrock 100 Co-Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Kilian Jornet after the 2016 Hardrock 100. You’ve won again.
Kilian Jornet: Yeah, congratulations for you, huh? Great race!
iRunFar: It is such a challenge, this race. What was the most difficult part of this race for you?
Jornet: One hundred miles is always hard. This year probably it was the heat. At least we had a clear night. The night was easy. But during the day, the heat it was probably the highest challenge this year.
iRunFar: Seeing you run 100 miles, you seem invincible. You seem like it’s easy. Did you have to dig deep?
Jornet: It’s always ups and downs in 100-mile race. It’s important to keep in the lower moments, to don’t be nervous and try to not lose too much energy and to take advantage of the high moments. I think it’s important… for me, I like to enjoy, so I like to take it really easy in the beginning. Then, the finish is always easy if you save energy for that.
iRunFar: Where was the lowest point for you?
Jornet: Here in Hardrock it’s always the same place. It’s from Ouray, because it’s more hot and probably this year’s from Ouray up to Engineers, I needed to really go easy and drink a lot. I was feeling… almost cramps, not cramps, but I was feeling my muscles were a bit hot, so I really needed to put some water in and go easy.
iRunFar: Some of the stream crossings, did you pause there?
Jornet: Yes, paused there. I’d take the cap and put water on.
iRunFar: Ouray was so hot. The sun hits the mountains.
Jornet: Yes, the sun was heating there, heating there, heating there.
iRunFar: Did you have any stomach problems?
Jornet: No, actually my stomach was pretty good all the time. I ate a bit too much Mexican the night before. That was bad for my stomach. The first two hours it was a bit bad in the stomach, but after that it was really good.
iRunFar: You had a pretty unique experience in that you ran with Jason Schlarb the entire race? Was that true?
Jornet: Yeah, or not entire, but almost. We started together. I didn’t know him from before. I have been reading of him and mostly like the three-day Hardrock ski when they did the Hardrock ski.
iRunFar: Did you want to do that?
Jornet: Yes, sure. That might be amazing to do. We were talking a lot about that and a lot skiing and a lot places and just having fun. Yeah, it was a moment that Xavier [Thévenard] was pushing a bit harder, so I ran with him. After Jason came back and we finished together.
iRunFar: How did it come to be that you finished together?
Jornet: We were going together all the way in the night and sharing moments. When we came to the last part, it feels unnecessary or strange to push hard to beat someone or to finish in front of someone for two minutes when you have been sharing all the race together. It was nice like that. It was a journey that we spent together. For me in this moment, it was more about the journey of Hardrock than about the performance here. Anyway, it was a big performance I think under 23 hours. I think it’s that that will make…
iRunFar: And now you will hang up your running shoes for the season?
Jornet: Yeah, I will put in the… I will still train a little, but no more racing other than some climbing for preparation for the Himalayas.
iRunFar: Congratulations on your win, and best of luck in the Himalayas.
Jornet: Thank you very much. You, too. Congratulations.
iRunFar: Thank you.
Interview: Part 2
iRunFar: Sorry, we’re a little crammed here. Kilian is about to take off. Two more questions for you, Kilian. You’ve now been here at Hardrock three times. You just finished. Do you think you’ll be back?
Jornet: Yeah, yesterday when I finished… all the times I’ve finished 100 miles, but especially after this one that is really tough, you say, “Why am I doing that? Why am I so stupid?” Everything is hurting a little. You want to sleep. Yeah, the day after, the legs start to feel good again, and “Oh, it was…” We forget so fast the pain. Yeah, absolutely. It’s such an experience to be here.
iRunFar: That’s incredible. You run so few races. You’ve pared back now. It seems to have captured a place in your heart and soul.
Jornet: Yeah, it’s everything—the ambiance, the people here, the ambiance around. It’s something really special.
iRunFar: Now, you do have another major goal on your feet before you get on skis this year. You have Everest. What will you do to prepare?
Jornet: Actually, now I will go back to the Alps for 10 more days and try to do a big amount of climbing and altitude before going there. Then, it’s only we go to Tibet to acclimatize and get ready. I’m excited, but it’s important to be patient, too. It’s about taking the time to wait for the good conditions, for the good weather windows. It’s important to be patient for that.
iRunFar: Obviously you’d love to summit Everest, but what is your ultimate goal. What would be the perfect day for you?
Jornet: The perfect day is every day. I enjoy every day and things. There, it’s nice to be in Tibet. It’s nice to climb mountains the same as it’s nice to be here and share the race with other runners or the crew. I think I’m not a big “goal things” person. I just like to enjoy every day and do the things.
iRunFar: In terms of the preparation, is there anything other than the acclimation you still feel the need to do to be prepared?
Jornet: No, always you can do things to be more prepared, but it’s mostly like I have been gone the last 10 days before coming here to do a big amount of climbing to get really to move easy in any kind of terrain. It’s to climb a lot of meters in easy, moderate terrain. When you’re up there, you don’t need to stress about the difficulties, but only stress about the altitude.
iRunFar: You’re going without oxygen, correct?
Jornet: Yeah, the goal is to go alpinist style without oxygen and no fixed ropes and no cams.
iRunFar: Before the race here you said you don’t really worry about logistics for 100 miles. Probably a little different going up Everest—you give it a little more thought?
Jornet: Yeah, we wonder a bit more about logistics, but still we are a bit punk in the style. It’s all the bureaucracy and permits that we have to do, but after that, we don’t know where we will make our base camp or where we will acclimatize or how we plan. We do it pretty much on the feeling how we feel to do things. Then it’s there we plan more.
iRunFar: There are ways to do Everest that are more established. There’s a set routine and everything. What makes you want to do it your own way?
Jornet: It’s nice to try things. I think that’s the interesting thing to try if I am able to do in this way. Yeah, it’s probably less possibilities to do it and to reach, but it’s at least something that’s nice to try. It’s nice to see if it’s possible. Why try to run 100 miles? We didn’t know if it was possible or not. Okay, it’s possible. Then, it’s possible to run fast. That’s always the same. Why not try to go to Everest. We go to the mountains in the Alps or here with a small backpack. It’s as interesting as reaching the summit.
iRunFar: Enjoy your journey in the Himalayas, and good luck on Everest.
Jornet: Thank you very much.