This weekend, Kilian Jornet destroyed the course record at the legendary HardRock 100. He ran the famously “wild and tough” 100 mile race in a previously unheard of 22:41:33. In doing so, he cemented his reputation, at least in my mind, as the best mountain runner ever.*
If you don’t follow the sport of ultrarunning, it is hard to express how impressive it is to run this course that fast. The previous record of 23:23:20 set by Kyle Skaggs in 2008 was considered one of the most impressive, and least likely to be bettered, course records in the sport. Yet Jornet didn’t just beat the record, he bettered it by forty minutes without really trying. He ran the first half of the course easy, waited for another runner at one point so he could have someone to talk to, and routinely spent more than ten minutes in aid stations chatting with volunteers. When he finished, he showed the race director pictures he’d taken on the course:
Its just an incredible performance. And Jornet is such a fascinating character. A professional runner and skier, he makes his living doing what he loves. He is head and shoulder above his competition in mountain running and ski mountaineering yet he seems genuinely humble and kind. Everyone in the sport has only kind things to say about him. Still, at the front of the ultra field, it must be strange to compete against a man who is clearly so much better than his rivals. And it must be equally strange to be so much better than everyone else at these pursuits so few people care about.
A couple of years ago, the New York Times profiled Jornet claiming he was the best the most dominate endurance athelete of his generation. There is no doubt that is true. With his completion of Hardrock, he has hinted that he might leave ultra running and concentrate on speed assents of the world’s summits. He’s documenting that incredible undertaking in a film series called Summits Of My Life.
Cause, you know, why not?
Its truly exciting to live in a time with such an incredible athlete. I cannot wait to see what he does next.
Here’s a couple of interviews with Jornet after the race:
* he is also, arguably the best ski mountaineer ever, and one of the best speed climbers ever having set a new FKT on Denali just weeks before Hardrock. That adds to the records he already holds on Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. This is just insane, you get that, right?