What’s Your (Trail Running) Quest?

Kilian's QuestWith snow pounding the American Mountain West, we suspect the season for grand running plans has wrapped up for many a trail runner in the Northern Hemisphere. So, too, has Kilian Jornet’s second year of running Kilian’s Quests. In case you’ve missed it, Kilian’s Quests are a well-supported series trail running adventures around the world for elite trail runner (and wonderful person) Kilian Jornet. While there are camera crews there capturing each quest on film, the quests are about a runner attempting to fulfill his dreams. I’ve been there on the trail with Kilian during one of his quests in 2009 and can attest to his genuine joy for the running and the natural settings in which he does it.

So, with the 2010 trail season wrapping up, we’ve got a question for you, the iRunFar reader. If funding wasn’t an issue, what would be your trail running quest in 2011. We’re not talking about “getting in shape” or “gallivant around the world running trails.” We want to know a specific run the thought of which lights your fire. Leave a comment and let us know. We gave our favorite response (Nick’s) a copy of the 2009 Kilian’s Quest DVD. It’s worth watching.

To jump start your day dreaming, a brief reminder of Kilian’s Quests the past two years. Kilian kicked off his first quest in June 2009 by running all 118 miles Corsica’s fabled GR20 route with its 30,000+ feet of elevation gain in just under 33 hours. In September 2009, Kilian headed to the Sierra Nevada of California and Nevada where he established a new record on the Tahoe Rim Trail – 165 miles in 38 and a half hours. You can read my take on running with Kilian during my three stints as a pacer during his Tahoe Rim Trail run. You can watch all 10 episodes of Kilian’s Quest Season 1 to find out more about both of these runs.

Kilian Jornet Tahoe Rim Trail

Kilian Jornet warpping up the Tahoe Rim Trail.

After winning a ski mountaineering world championship over the winter, Kilian kicked things up a notch by running 435 miles across the Pyrenees in 9 days this June. That’s with 138,000 feet of climb. Sounds like fun, huh?! Perhaps not as much fun as Kilian’s second quest of 2010, running up and down Mount Kilimanjaro in record time. Mission accomplished. He set an ascent record of 5:23 for the 19.5 mile, 13,960′ climb up the Umbwe Route to the highest point in Africa. By running the 13.4 mile descent in 1:41, he set a new 32.9 mile roundtrip record in 8:27. (He spent a bit of time at the top.) The first 8 episodes of Kilian’s Quest 2010 are posted at the time we published this article.

Kilian Jornet Kilimanjaro

Simon Mtuy (the previous recordholder) and Kilian Jornet running on Mount Kilimanjaro. (c) Salomon