Kilian Jornet set a new course record during the 2014 Hardrock 100 by running 22:41:33, bettering the previous course record held by Kyle Skaggs at 23:23:30. In this finish-line interview, a Hardrock tradition for the men’s and women’s winners, he talks about when and how he pushed the pace, how he had fun with the course, the weather he encountered, and more.
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Kilian Jornet, 2014 Hardrock 100 Champion, Finish-Line Interview Transcript
Media: Does this actually mean you’re tired right now?
Kilian Jornet: Yeah, the legs are well because the downhills we take easy, but yeah, fresh water? Yeah, it’s still long. It’s still 100 miles, so the last part I was pushing, so… it was hard. I sit down. It’s good to sit after.
Media: [laughs and cheers] Is somebody bringing you water?
Jornet: Yes. Thank you.
Jornet: Yeah, if I drink this much [few inches] beer right now I think I have coma.
Jornet: Virginius—they had there.
Media: What was the hardest part or was there any hard part for you?
Jornet: All the race was. We started really slow altogether and until Sherman we were really easy. Then it was hard because it was raining a lot and a bit of a storm. It was maybe hardest. Then in a long distance race, the hardest is always the last part because you are tired… the last 2k.
Media: How does it feel to break the record, man?
Jornet: Nice. I wasn’t thinking about. Then after Sherman I wanted to leave with Julien [Chorier] then I saw he wasn’t there, so I tried to push.
Meghan Hicks: What’s the story with the KitKats? The chocolate bars.
Jornet: It was the thing that they had here in the supermarket.
Media: Is the Sprite going to do it or do you want some water?
Jornet: It’s well.
Jornet: Julien [Chorier] was close or…?
Bryon Powell: No, more than an hour.
Jornet: And third—who was now?
Powell: Adam Campbell.
Jornet: Adam. He was looking good.
Powell: Yes. You need your flag?
Anna Frost: How’s Darcy [Piceu] doing? She was in fifth, Darcy?
Powell: Diana [Finkel] is up in fifth or sixth.
Jornet: Sixth? Wow!
Hicks: She’s in sixth currently.
Powell: Darcy’s in, like, 11th.
Hicks: Kilian, your favorite part of the course?
Jornet: I think Virginius Pass and Oscar’s Pass, too.
Hicks: What did you think of the Kroger’s Aid Station up there on Virginius?
Jornet: It was cool, yeah. Take some tequila shots and… nice up there.
Hicks: Full-size shot?
Jornet: No, no, it was small, small.
Jornet: It’s warm down here. I feel like an old woman…
Media and everyone: [laughs]
Powell: It’s a family.
Hicks: Handies Peak sunset—what was it like up there?
Jornet: It was beautiful, yes, super super beautiful.
Powell: Any bad storms?
Jornet: We were lucky to pass Handies before. I think people behind were, yeah, I think it was pretty strong. We had a storm after Sherman on the plateau there, but it was okay, just more raining than lightning. Yeah, I think the people that were crossing Handies Peak two hours after us, it was pretty bad.
Hicks: We heard that you might have run through a big herd of elk? Did you run through a big herd of elk?
Jornet: Yes, in the rain. It was a lot, maybe at least 25 and 50 with a lot of small and some mothers; so we were careful. It was beautiful.
Media: Kilian is used to elk. He knows a lot about elk.
Media: Did the altitude affect you much at all?
Jornet: It affects everybody. You cannot run as fast as you can in lower, but no, I wasn’t feeling more than normal.
Media: Are you a mountain goat?
Hicks: So you climbed Denali, won a couple races at the Skyrunning World Championships, came and claimed a really stellar course record at Hardrock. What’s tomorrow?
Jornet: I think it was a good preparation. Denali was the altitude training. In Chamonix it was the vertical kilometer and a sky race, so half some speed and half endurance to prepare for here. So it was good here because of that.
Media: Are you racing Thursday in Italy?
Jornet: I will see how the legs feel. Yeah, Thursday is a vertical kilometer. I don’t know. Sunday is the sky race, so I probably will, but we’ll see for recovery.
Media: How did you learn English so well?
Jornet: No, not so well.
Media: Extremely well. You speak English better than I speak Spanish.
Hicks: How did you first hear about Hardrock and decide that you wanted to run it?
Jornet: First time I hear I think it must be 2007 when I started running. Before I was doing skiing and I started running and the races you hear are UTMB, Sierre-Zinal, Dolomites, Hardrock, Western.
Media: Was Hardrock on your list?
Jornet: Yes, it was the last one.
Media: Would you ever come back here and do it again?
Jornet: Yes, we need to do it the other direction, no?
Hicks: To become a ‘true Hardrocker.’ Well, you have the automatic invite for next year given that you’re the winner this year.
Jornet: Yeah? Okay.
Media: We’ll talk about that later.
Jornet: Yeah, it’s not good. When you finish an ultra, never say you want to run another ultra. Wait for some weeks.
Media: Can we get you anything?
Jornet: It’s well, thank you. I’m sitting, not running, it’s well. I’ve been dreaming about that for many hours.
Powell: Skis? Do you want some skis now?
Jornet: I was remembering I was here mostly in Ophir and Telluride in December and we were doing all the downhills from Oscar’s Pass to Ophir and from San Joaquins to Telluride. It was amazing the skis. When you run it takes 40 minutes and with skis it’s two minutes.
Media: How long was Rickey [Gates] with you?
Jornet: Rickey was with me from Grouse to Maggie. Then Anna Frost started in Cunningham.
Hicks: The course record you beat is known as one of the more revered course records in North America. You just, I don’t know, reached out and swiped it and took it away in one fell swoop.
Jornet: It was a good level today in the race, so you feel motivated. Conditions were really well less the rain and the storm. All the day wasn’t as warm, so it was easy to not lose energy. I think when Kyle [Skaggs] do, he starts really strong and explodes in the end and I was doing the contrary with starting easy and catching in the end. It’s easy if you know that it’s the record and you know that you can control that. For him it was harder just to push from the beginning.
Hicks: When we asked you a couple times during the race what you thought about the course record and were you pushing for it, you kind of shrugged your shoulders and said, “I don’t know if I’m pushing for it.” Did you really have it on your mind all day?
Jornet: No, not all day. It’s a thing that you think about, but I was thinking to finish the race because it’s difficult to finish 100 miles always. I wanted to take it really, really, really easy until Sherman, so I was just moving until there. Then it’s just a marathon left, so I was pushing. I saw that I was in the time, so I pushed to get it.
Media and others: Congratulations, Kilian! Bravo, Kilian! [cheers]
Media: He probably has to go to the bathroom.
Powell: A little different than UTMB?
Jornet: Yeah, it’s different. It’s beautiful. Phenomenal. Super, super. How are the others? I heard that Joe…?
Powell: Joe [Grant] dropped. Seb [Chaigneau] dropped. Dakota [Jones] went out of Grouse and then came back because of his ankle. He hurt his ankle.
Jornet: Seb, why? He was doing well.
Powell: Rhabdo-like symptoms.
Jornet: Sad because he was running well.
Powell: Joe pulled his quadriceps.
Powell: Timothy [Olson] had very bad stomach problems.
Jornet: And he’s racing?
Powell: Last I heard he was still moving.
Jornet: Yeah, cool.
Powell: He’s spent a lot of time. A bunch of people had problems up on American Basin. They got caught behind the storm and just had to huddle down.
Jornet: Yeah, it was pretty close moments. So who’s fourth now?
Powell: Do you know who’s fourth, Meghan? Any updates?
Hicks: Jeff Browning.
Powell: [Tsuyoshi] Kaburaki has moved up to fifth.
Jornet: I know where… it was a small couloir where some rocks were falling.
Powell: He’s in fifth now. He’s still going forward.
Jornet: Oh! He’s racing! No. Japanese.
Friend: Do you want to take your shoes off?
Jornet: Not now. I think I have a big blister on one foot right here.
Powell: Once their off, you’re done.
Jornet: Thank you, man. Hard to remember because after…
Hicks: Everyone is asking about the pack you’re wearing. Is it a new prototype?
Jornet: I think it was the prototype, but it will be the next one.
Powell: Spring/Summer 2015.
Jornet: Yes, probably. It’s the same but lighter.
Media: Kilian, you stopped a lot for photos with people and to say “Hi” to people.
Jornet: We were moving slow, so it was nice to stop in the aid stations, I think. It’s so fun. And to watch the landscape, too, when you come to Oscar’s Pass or Virginius or the summit, you need to stop. It’s not waiting. The second part I had been seeing in the night part, but the day part is nice to just enjoy.
Media: Where did the beauty of the course rank for you compared to other courses?
Jornet: It’s the very first because you have not one part that you hate. It’s really natural and it’s beautiful and yeah, it’s nice.
Frost: Want to take your bag off?
Jornet: It’s really beautiful. The trail, it’s incredible. It’s not super technical, but it’s technical so you can enjoy all the way. Then all the ambiance is huge. I was talking about that at all the aid station. It’s so beautiful out there. It’s really cool everywhere. It’s really familiar. Good food, too.
Hicks: Good food?
Jornet: Yeah, good food at the aid stations.
Media: You like candy, eh?
Jornet: No, I ate more the salty this time like potatoes and one of the aid station made bowls of…
Jornet: I didn’t take the chili because the maybe the stomach is…
Media: Did you get lost at all?
Jornet: No, I stopped some parts, but looking around, I saw [the markers]. Then the last part I had been looking from Ouray to the end, I’ve been checking the last two days, so I knew it.
Media: Did you do some night runs?
Jornet: Not the night. No, during the day and then you know where you need to go. In case, I have the phone. I take the phone because it’s a GPS and I have the track, so anywhere you can check if you’re in the way or not.
Media: Did you have any close encounters with lightning?
Jornet: Lightning? We had a bit, but I think for us it was well because we weren’t in the highest points.
Media: You were past Handies.
Jornet: Yes, so it was good.
Media: How hard was it going up Handies?
Jornet: I think one hour.
Media: It was pretty hard?
Jornet: Mmm, in that point it’s hard because you have meters in the legs, but then it’s beautiful more than it’s hard. It’s beautiful.
Media: Kilian, La Cerdanya, and your mother, and everyone says, “Hello!”
Jornet: Yeah, of course. Yeah, thank you.
Jornet: So, Julien will arrive?
Powell: In awhile. At 24 hours… in about an hour.
Jornet: He will go under 24 hours or no? What do you think? That was his goal.
Friend: Yeah, I think he’ll go under 24.
Powell: He knew he couldn’t run that much faster than 24.
Media: So you ran with Julien for a lot of the way. What was that like?
Jornet: We know each other for a long, long time, so it’s always fun to run with someone in a long race like that because if not, it’s…
Media: You kept each other company.
Jornet: Yes, you don’t talk, you just… it’s nice to be with someone.
Powell: You waited for him coming off Engineer.
Jornet: Yes, because it’s… to talk.
Media: How long did you wait for him?
Jornet: No, I just ran slow.
Media: Do you listen to music when you run?
Jornet: Not today, but sometimes.
Powell: A little different than the finish line at UTMB.
Media: Kilian, can you go slower next time so we can get some sunlight? I need a bigger flash.
Media: For someone that’s never been a part of UTMB, how does Hardrock compare?
Jornet: It’s in elevation—here you have the altitude that’s a big point. You feel even if you’re acclimatized, you feel the altitude. It’s a big point for people that are living low. Then it’s much more technical. It’s three hours more than UTMB. It’s much more technical. Then I think the recovery is faster in this race than UTMB because it’s much more hiking and when it’s technical. The worst is the asphalt at UTMB. It still has many kilometers of asphalt or dirt roads, so the legs suffer more. Then, here the nice thing is that you’re in the wild places always. At UTMB, there are some very nice places, but the link between the places aren’t as nice.
[Kilian speaks in French with a member of the media.]