Trail Runner Sets Women’s Speed Record on Kilimanjaro

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Danish trail runner Kristina Schou Madsen has set a new women’s speed record on Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. According to Gear Junkie, she was able to complete the 19,341-foot (5895 meter) ascent in a mere 6 hours, 52 minutes, and 54 seconds. For those keeping track at home, that’s even faster than the 7 hours and 14 minutes that it took Kilian Jornet to do the same run back in 2010, but still well off the pace of the men’s record, which is held by Karl Egloff and stands at 4 hours and 56 minutes.

Madsen set the record back on February 23, launching her run from the Meek Gate located at 5347 feet (1630 meters). She then managed to beat previous female record holder Fernanda Maciel by about 15 minutes, with her times verified by SPOT, Garmin GPS and the International Skyrunning Federation.

In addition to setting a new FKT (fast known time), Madsen used the speed run to raise funds for the Zara Tanzania Charity, in organization that conducts a number of different projects amongst the Maasai people. Kristina brought in $1000 for the charity, which will use the money to help build a classroom, dining hall, toilets, and a kitchen in a village school near Ngorogoro.

In an interview with Gear Junkie, Kristina talks about why she chose to take on Kilimanjaro, the gear she used for the ascent, and how she trains in her home country where the highest point is just 613 feet (187 meters) above sea level. She also tells GJ what’s next on her schedule, with a couple of upcoming ultra competitions to keep her busy.

Congratulations to Kristina on an impressive performance. It never ceases to amaze me how these endurance athletes continue to raise the bar in terms of speed records. To put this in perspective, the rest of would find its challenge to complete a Kili climb in six days, let alone six hours. Well done!

Kraig Becker