This year, the ultrarunning world hasn’t seen as much of Kilian Jornet as it has in recent years. However, he showed he’s still the man to beat with his win at Ultra Pirineu this weekend. In the following interview, Kilian talks about how he enjoyed seeing old friends out on the course, what he was doing with his GoPro on the course, how little running he’d been doing before the race, and what he might have in store for next year.
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Kilian Jornet, 2015 Ultra Pirineu Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Kilian Jornet after his win at the 2015 Ultra Pirineu. How are you?
Kilian Jornet: Good, yeah.
iRunFar: You look like you had a good time yesterday.
Jornet: Yes, it was beautiful. The weather was perfect for running, a bit warm but not too much. Yes, good weather.
iRunFar: Better than the views in 2012?
Jornet: Yeah, sure, we could see something more. It was a bit less cold.
iRunFar: Were you looking out at the places you used to live?
Jornet: Yes, it’s really nice when you run in some place where you were a child. It’s beautiful to run on those trails. I met some friends, too, people that I haven’t seen for some years now. Then just to see them there and to chat a little with them…
iRunFar: You seemed like you were chatting with a lot of people during the race.
Jornet: Yes, it’s a long race, so you don’t want to push too strong until the last kilometers.
iRunFar: What inspired you to bring the GoPro?
Jornet: I think it’s nice to just film for people to see what we see from inside the race. I was thinking to have that, and I was talking with Jordi and my team and they were saying, yeah, it can be cool. It’s so small; it’s not weight, so it was fun.
iRunFar: Zaid [Ait Malek] said he had fun chatting with you.
Jornet: Yeah, Zaid had an amazing race. It’s incredible. I’m so happy for him after this year.
iRunFar: He had some troubles this year.
Jornet: Yes, he had many troubles with the residency in Spain. He could not leave Spain, so he could not do many races. He came back here and did his first long race and…
iRunFar: Did that surprise you how well he did? He’s a very strong runner, but this was his first long race?
Jornet: Yes, it was surprising because he has been doing some 80k, and he was struggling in them. I was thinking he would explode, but no, he was really smart. He was pushing but always keeping a pace. He was strong because passing Miguel Heras in the last climb, he had a really good move.
iRunFar: Miguel had a really good race.
Jornet: Yes, it’s nice to see him back again. He was really strong last years, but the last two years he had some problems with injuries and things, and it was hard for him to come back. It’s nice to see him back.
iRunFar: I think he said he wasn’t quite at 100% yet but going in the right direction.
Jornet: Yes, going the right direction, I think, is important.
iRunFar: Were you running at 100% yesterday? Are you at the top of your fitness right now for running?
Jornet: I don’t know running. I am in good fitness because I’ve been doing races, like two weeks ago I did my best time in the vertical kilometer. Then here, I was well. I haven’t been running. The last month I’ve been pure running three or four days maybe but a lot of mountaineering and a lot of altitude, so I was a bit worried about the distance. I knew I could do the distance but about the legs and the feet, so I had some blisters yesterday. Yeah, it was mostly like, Okay, you need to go slow. You need to go slow.
iRunFar: And you did until Vents del Cadí.
Jornet: Yeah, the last 10k, it’s a big uphill and then just down to the finish line. I was running with Zaid and Miguel, and I saw in the uphills I went really easy and I could make a move in the uphill. So in this uphill, I just tried to push and make a break.
iRunFar: And you did. You were six minutes faster in those 4k.
Jornet: Yeah, I was feeling good. If you are a bit fresher, you have the energy to make a change. Yeah, my goal was to stay fresh for this last climb.
iRunFar: Before the race we talked about how you’d been racing a little less this year and doing more adventures. What are your thoughts for next year? More of that approach?
Jornet: Yeah, probably because if bureaucratically we can go to Everest, even up it, and if we go there it will probably take us a lot of time. Then I will not be able to do a full season. I have other ideas in climbing and steep skiing. I want to do some races, too, so I’ll probably do a nice mix.
iRunFar: This season, how much longer will you continue with running before you put on the skis for good?
Jornet: Actually now, this was my last big race of the summer. After, I think I will do some vertical kilometers close to home just for training and for fun. No, mostly I will take a small break in October, maybe two weeks in October, and then start to ski for the winter.
iRunFar: Nice, well, congratulations on a great race, and enjoy.
Jornet: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: A bonus segment. We’re here in Catalunya and would love to learn some phrases that would help a runner coming to run Ultra Pirineu. How do you ask for water?
Jornet: For water? Agua—ah, no, this is Spanish. “Aigua” in Catalan.
iRunFar: How about “Which direction?”
Jornet: “Quina direcció?”
iRunFar: How would you cheer for somebody if there are runners?
Jornet: “Venga! Venga! Venga! Venga! Venga! Venga!”
iRunFar: Any other important words for a runner?
Jornet: “Una cerveza, si us plau.”
iRunFar: I know that one. “One beer, if you will.”
Jornet: That’s for the finish. Yeah.
iRunFar: Thank you, Kilian.
Jornet: Thank you very much.