At 50k on technical terrain, Kilian Jornet is the best in the world. That’s not necessarily the case on smooth terrain. That’s what makes this weekend’s race on The Rut 50k’s wildly mixed terrain exciting. In the following interview, Kilian talks about how his running since winning Hardrock, how much he trains on highly runnable terrain, and what he thinks of The Rut’s mixed terrain. For more on this year’s Rut 50k, check out our women’s and men’s previews.
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Kilian Jornet Pre-2014 The Rut 50k Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Kilian Jornet before the 2014 The Rut 50k. How are you doing, Kilian?
Kilian Jornet: Good, yeah. Having some snow this morning.
iRunFar: Yeah, did you bring your skis?
Jornet: Yeah! No, it’s going out fast.
iRunFar: Yeah, it will melt off the course pretty quick. Earlier this summer you ran Hardrock which you appeared to enjoy.
Jornet: Yeah, it was beautiful. I want to come back next year.
Jornet: Yeah, sure.
iRunFar: This seems like another American race that you might actually enjoy. Are you excited for the course?
Jornet: Yeah, I think they’ve done a super-good job, the two Mikes (Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe). We just arrived some days ago. We were running the second part of the race. It’s pretty technical. It’s really nice. It’s a really interesting race because it has the first part which is really flat and really runnable like all the American races. Then the second part is really technical like the European races. So it’s a nice mix. I think it will be really interesting to follow the race and how it goes.
iRunFar: So do you find that exciting to have not just the technical?
Jornet: Sure, I think it’s good for runners here to start on this to get into Skyrunning. It’s also this higher part, but to have fun down running fast—yeah, I think it will change a lot during the race and during the kilometers. At the beginning, it will probably be a really fast race with some people going really fast, and then in the middle when it starts getting really technical, and people really strong in downhills like Manuel Merillas and Tom Owens will come back. Yeah, it will be really interesting.
iRunFar: Do you actually enjoy sometimes… because everybody thinks of you just doing technical and really steep stuff. Do you enjoy running fast sometimes on trail?
Jornet: I never do, except in races. I kind of like jogging in some trails, like in a race, but training I would never train on that.
iRunFar: So, you have Sage Canaday here as well who is really fast on the flatter or less-technical trails. Are you going to try to run with him early on or just rely on your strength?
Jornet: I think Sage is really talented in flat running and he has amazing times in the marathon. He has been improving technical. I remember in Transvulcania two years ago, he lost a lot of time in the downhill. This year, less. He did good races at Speedgoat. I think this race is much more technical, the higher part is much more. But I think he has been improving a lot more in technical and on the flat he is really, really fast. I will see how I feel. I will do the vertical kilometer first. That will be really hard because it’s a long vertical k. It’s not really steep.
iRunFar: More than 5k.
Jornet: Yeah, more than 5k, so you need to run a lot and it takes a lot energy. It will be a good competition. I think some Italians have come back and come here. I will see during the race how I feel. I know that probably in the last part of the technical I can recover a bit of time, but it’s people like Manuel Merillas and Tom Owens that can be really strong in this part. It will be fun to see.
iRunFar: After Hardrock when we talked last, you went on that week to run not only the vertical kilometer but also the Dolomites Skyrace. How did that go for you?
Jornet: Yeah, I was really surprised. After Hardrock I went to Italy and I think Thursday was the vertical kilometer that I placed eighth with a good time. I was really happy and really surprised because I didn’t expect it at all. Then the Skyrace I was feeling good, probably a bit not so good in the downhills, still feeling a little tired, but I was really surprised.
iRunFar: You won that, yes?
Jornet: Yes, it was going really well. In the uphill I could take some minutes on Ionut [Zinca] and Tadei [Pivk] who were going down fast. I was really surprised that happened.
iRunFar: You were actually tired on the downhills?
Jornet: Yeah, not tired, but you cannot go… maybe I lose a minute and a half of what I could run if I’m fresh.
iRunFar: Then you had what I think is probably one of your favorite races, Trofeo Kima?
Jornet: Yeah, then after… Trofeo Kima is a beautiful race. It’s technical. You have a big, big climb and then you stay all the time at altitude. It was a beautiful race as always and good competition, too, because Manuel Merillas, he was really close all the race until the last uphill. He’s really talented. He’s young and he’s full of racing, and he has a good tutor.
iRunFar: Tell me a little bit about him. He’s racing here. I have not seen him race so much.
Jornet: He’s good at technical and in the mountains. He does some ski mountaineering, too. He’s on the national team in Spain. He has been progressing. Probably in a race like that (The Rut) in the first part, he’s not fast. He never trains on flats. He trains on uphills as well. He’s really good on downhills like Dolomites—they did an amazing time like 41 minutes which is close to the record on the downhill at Dolomites. He’s really strong on downhills.
iRunFar: You got VK and you’ve got the 50k at The Rut. Good luck, Kilian. Take care.
Jornet: Thank you, very much!