Kilian Jornet is the world’s best mountain runner and the defending Transvulcania Ultramarathon champion. In the following interview, Kilian talks about how his 2013/2014 ski season went, what adventures he enjoyed over the winter, and how prepared he feels like he is for Transvulcania, as well as giving advice for racing when you’re not in top form. He also talks about racing the Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer 36 hours before the ultramarathon where he went on to finish third about an hour after this interview.
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Kilian Jornet Pre-2014 Transvulcania Ultramarathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Kilian Jornet before the 2014 Transvulcania Ultramarathon. How are you doing, Kilian?
Kilian Jornet: Good. You?
iRunFar: I’m very good. You’re not on white snow. We’re on black sand here.
Jornet: Yeah, it’s completely changed in one week.
iRunFar: One week. You are just off your ski season just as you have been the last two years, yes?
Jornet: Yes, we finished the season two weeks ago and I enjoy last week a lot because it was at home. It worked well the last three years so I thought this year we would do the same.
iRunFar: How was your ski season this year?
Jornet: Actually really good. For me it was the best season that I’ve ever done because I was really constant during all the season, and in the World Cup I had three victories in Individuals and it was really good results. I was really bad in one race. I had a problem with gastroenteritis so I could not place for the World Cup. All the other races I was feeling much better than other years.
iRunFar: That’s great. Any fun adventures outside of racing this past winter?
Jornet: Yes, I was in Lyngen, Norway, for the last part of the winter. It’s a magic place. It’s just winterland and just mountains. Really steep and not high but really difficult mountains up there.
iRunFar: Was it surreal with the lack of sunlight during the days?
Jornet: Yeah, it changes because you come there in December and it’s not sun during the day, but now, we left last week and now it’s just one hour without sun or just one hour of dark.
iRunFar: So very day you get 10 more minutes of light or it feels that way.
Jornet: Yes, it’s crazy.
iRunFar: So when did you arrive in La Palma?
Jornet: I arrived two days ago for a bit of time to get in the warm. Before that I was in Cataluña for some days, but it’s a bit more in between…
iRunFar: Cerdanya, your home?
Jornet: Yeah, in Cerdanya running and in warm weather.
iRunFar: So you’ve had very good fitness and even better fitness than usual during your ski season. Are you confident going into this race?
Jornet: The winter, yes, but in the summer it’s different. I think I’m in good shape, but it’s the legs. I don’t know if they’re used to running this long but I hope so. I’m confident about myself but the others are strong. Luis Alberto Hernando has had a super strong beginning of the season. Dakota [Jones] has been running a lot. Same for Sage [Canaday]. I think they have been doing a lot of kilometers and for me just a different race. But yes, I’m pretty confident.
iRunFar: How many kilometers have you run this year?
Jornet: I don’t know. I have been running for seven or eight days now. So probably around, maybe, I don’t know, 100k?
iRunFar: That didn’t stop you last year. You won last year, but Luis Alberto Hernando was very close, and that was his first ultramarathon.
Jornet: Yeah, Luis I think will be really, really tough because last year was his first ultramarathon. He’s more confident and he’s run several ultramarathons. He prepared really well everything, and I’m sure he will be really prepared. He will do well.
iRunFar: Yeah, two years ago here Dakota beat you, one of the few times in recent memory that you haven’t won an ultramarathoning race. How do you feel racing Dakota when he has two more years of experience?
Jornet: Yeah, it’s so cool that Dakota came back. Last year he wasn’t [here] but he ran in Europe super well. In some races he had some problems, but it’s so nice to have Dakota here. He’s an amazing runner and he’s really versatile. He can run in short distance and long distance and really technical and flat surfaces well. I think he’s really prepared for that. He has been running a lot also in the south sice of the Earth so he will be used to the warm, I think.
iRunFar: You’re running the Vertical Kilometer today. It’s two days before Transvulcania—36 hours.
Jornet: Yeah, but it’s like the European Championship, we run the Vertical K and two days after the Sky Race. I think the Vertical K takes energy just, but it’s really hard and inevitably the Vertical K will be amazing because Jonathan Wyatt, it’s Bernard Dematteis and Martin Dematteis are really, really strong—Marco Facchinelli. It will be a big battle. I think I’m less prepared for the Vertical K now than I am for the ultramarathon. I think it’s just a warm up for Saturday.
iRunFar: You have had success the last two years at Transvulcania. Any tips you would give to runners who may not be in their peak fitness going into the race?
Jornet: I think it depends on the race, but I think it’s really important to take care of dehydration because we come from the winter, we need to drink more. Our muscles are not used to the long, so all the fibers get a bit stuck so we need to really drink and to really stretch along before the race. All the posterior parts of the muscles are really tight from the winter, so we need to stretch a lot.
iRunFar: Congratulations on your great ski season and best of luck this weekend… and in the VK in about an hour.
Jornet: Thank you. Yeah, we’ll see that.
BONUS FOOTAGE OF KILIAN JORNET STARTING THE VERTICAL KILOMETER