Kilian Jornet, after his 4th victory in the UTMB: “Both in the fight, it was incredible”

“How do you feel after this victory?
The sensations today were very difficult. I think it’s not important. Of course, winning the race makes you happier at night, but that’s not the most important thing. The important thing is experience. Today was an incredible race. Already, we had very good weather conditions. We were able to enjoy the night. Spend the entire first part of the race with Jim (Walmsley, finally 4th), and the final part with Mathieu (Blanchard, 2nd) to fight, to help each other. For the anecdote, when Mathieu passed me, I was really not well. He motivated me to follow him. And to finish the race together in a fight like that, it was incredible. It is this experience that I keep today.

“My whole body was not well. Especially on the descents, if I went fast, I was in a lot of pain. I thought about giving up”

Did you doubt when Mathieu (Blanchard) passed in front?
When Jim went downhill, I tried to follow. And with the post-Covid symptoms, my muscles weren’t working very well and also at the lung level. When Jim left, I tried to follow him for two minutes and pam, everything exploded. From there, to La Fouly, I was really not well. My whole body was not well. Especially on the descents, if I went fast, I was in a lot of pain. I thought about giving up. When Mathieu passed me, I said to myself that I had to go as far as Champex. And then we started running together. Me, I started to recover better feelings. Yes, I thought about giving up.

You set a record time of 20 hours (19h54’50”)…
The weather, in trail running, especially in races like this where the conditions are a lot, you shouldn’t give them a lot of importance.

You end your Zegama, Western States, Sierre Zinal sequence with a victory over the UTMB.
Yes, it was super interesting. It was even more interesting because the first two races (two wins), I was really good in terms of training and health. The last two, Sierre Zinal and UTMB, I was very well in training but sick. So it was an additional challenge. It will be interesting to review the training. I’m super happy to see that we can manage to perform well on the short, on the long, several times in the same season.

Do you plan to return to the UTMB?
Not today. I hurt everywhere, we’ll see, we have to wait a few days. When the legs are good, we’ll think about it. When you finish an ultra, it’s the last thing on your mind, you say to yourself ‘why did I do this, why am I in this pain’. Afterwards, we forget it and come back.

What’s next?
There are always plenty of things to do. This year finally, it was not doing this race or another, but this series of long races that is motivating. Not only concrete competitions but sequences of competitions or other stuff. That, for me, is perhaps more interesting today than before. »


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