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Trail race: Kilian Jornet dominates

October 28, 2011

Pressrelease from Salomon
The Catalan athlete achieved a tough victory in the Kinabalu International Climbathon in a time of 2:37:04h, with the second best   descent time in the history of the race.

Photo Credits: Droz-Photos

This 21km race, which has a total climb of 2300m, puts an end to the Trail Running season and to Kilian’s personal challenge 5 Races 5 Continents, in which the Catalan athlete has taken part and won the most important race in each continent. The athlete from Cerdanya is now going to take a well-deserved break, before starting to train for the mountain skiing season.

This was a hard victory of Kilian Jornet in the Mt Kinabalu International Climathon, in which he had to give everything he had in order to defeat Italian Marco di Gasperi in another brilliant duel between the two athletes. Kilian managed to fight back against the Italian’s 4-minute lead in a brilliant descent, the second fastest in the history of the race. Finally, Jornet crossed the finishing line in a time of 2:37:04, followed by De Gasperi and Luis Alberto Hernando.

Kilian himself talks about the feelings he experienced during the race:
“Today’s race was very special, because of the location, the other competitors and everything that had happened previously.”

“At 7 am we set off behind a dozen Malaysian runners who are running as if this is a 100m sprint. I catch up with Marco. We start the climb. The pace is tough. I stick to him and try to avoid being left behind. I can’t keep going. My legs are killing me and I feel them freeze. Damn!

“I start climbing at my own pace. The Japanese runner catches me up and I stick to him. I can’t let him leave me behind! When we reach the refuge, half way up the ascent, Luis Alberto catches us up and we encourage each other to carry on. No sign of Marco.”

Photo Credits: Droz-Photos

“We egg each other taking it in turns. Marco is way ahead of us on the descent, some four minutes ahead. We reach the summit together. We start the descent and upon reaching the end of the rocky area, I sprint off ahead. “Go for him!” Alberto tells me. I don’t feel I can do so. But I dash down the descent, with its big drops in level, roots and rocks, as fast as I can. I lose control on many occasions and still can’t overtake him. I know I’m going down fast. The spectators tell me I’m catching up with Marco.  Three minutes, two minutes, some seconds. At the end of the path, I cross the bridge, turn and I see Marco just ahead of me. I sprint. I overtake him and he runs alongside me. “Are you alright?” I ask him. We start the 3km of asphalt neck-and-neck. I accelerate. I can hear his footsteps falling behind. I run even faster. Marco is now 100m behind. 1km to go, 900m, 700m, 500m. I run full out.

“I would never have thought I could catch Marco up on the descent. It was a 3h37m39” fight and a crazy 56’24” descent!”

Today’s race has put an end to the Trail Running Season, a season which according to Kilian “has been special, really tough, with a variety of emotions. 15 races, 751km, 45,000m of inclines, 77 hours with one number. 5 continents. But it has meant much more than that. Numbers can’t express any of the feelings and emotions I have experienced.”

“There have been three magnificent, really tough races. Giir di Mont, Sierre Zinal and today in Kinabalu, always neck and neck with my idol in this sport and the current best short distance runner, Marco de Gasperi. There have been beautiful trips, and races in which you discover things and enjoy yourself. Australia, Greece, California, UTMB, South Africa. There have been hard moments, very hard as, because I tried to run everywhere, I lost on some mountains and even lost the urge to run and to compete. And then, there have been weeks of pleasure in the mountains, ending in my return to Malaysia with my hopes renewed.”

With today’s victory, Killian brings his project 5 Races 5 Continents to an end in the best possible way. It all began in May with his victory in The North Face 100 K, another win in the WS 100 in the USA, triumph in Europe in the UTMB. Then first place in the Table Mountains in South Africa, and finally Malaysia, with his victory achieved today in the Mt Kinabalu International Climbathon.

Jornet is going to take a well-deserved break before starting to prepare the mountain-skiing season. “Now I’m going to rest but I’ll still be spending a lot of time in the mountains and then I’ll be preparing the winter season. There are still 18 weeks till the European Alpine Skiing Championships. Let’s go!”


1. Kilian Jornet. 2h37’04”

2. Marco de Gasperi 2h37’48”

3. Luis Alberto Hernando 2h42’36”


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