Just when you thought you’d seen it all from Kilian Jornet he goes and sets the bar a little higher. Last Friday, the Spanish ultrarunner and ski-mo athlete took to the slopes in Molde, Norway to attempt a new 24-hour elevation record and after smashing the previous mark he reminded us why he just might be the greatest athlete in the world today.
Despite having climbed Everest twice in a week, setting speed records on the world’s highest mountains, and winning countless long-distance trail running events, Jornet always seems to find new ways to test himself. This time out, the goal was to see how much uphill ground he could cover in a single day while on skis. In other words, he’d start at the bottom of the Tusten ski area in Molde, skin to the top of the hill, ski back down, then do it all over again. For 24 hours straight. At the end of that very long day and night on the slopes, the Spaniard didn’t just set a new record however, he redefined what it means to go fast and far in the mountains.
When the clock stopped on his record=setting attempt, Jornet had notched a jaw-dropping 23,468 meters. That’s an incredible 76,995 feet, which beats the old mark by more than 10,000 feet. The previous record was set last May by Norwegian Lars Erik, who covered a total of 20,939 meters (68,697 feet). In order to achieve that number, Kilian had to scale the hill at Tusten more 51 times.
In true Jornet fashion, the endurance athlete downplayed his accomplishment. He called the 24-hour challenge “a test” that he conducted just to see how well his body would perform. I’d say he’s in pretty great shape heading into the last few months of the ski-mo season and preparing for the trail running events later this year. Of course, Kilian always does a lot more than just those activities and he’s likely to have a a few surprises in store for us throughout the year as well.
Congrats to Kilian on this impressive accomplishment. You never fail to amaze us.
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