On the Mandalen track in Norway, night had fallen for a good five hours when Kilian Jornet’s stride began to show discomfort in his right leg. A pain which would then push him to give up after 134.8 km and 10:24 ‘of effort.
But, until then, despite difficult conditions (2 ° C during the day, negative temperatures at night and frost in the stadium), Kilian Jornet seemed at ease on the Norwegian blue tartan track: he was cruising. above 13km / h. A first marathon in 3h3 ‘, then 82 km in 6h: the Spaniard was on the basis of the world record for the discipline, established in 1997 by the Greek Yiánnis Koúros who had covered 303.506 km at an average of 12.6 km / h (759 laps).
The impressive decorum, put in place by its equipment manufacturer who took the opportunity to communicate on the launch of a new road shoe, was unprecedented for this niche discipline of athletics, which nevertheless has official events every year and which has a large handful of international specialists, including a live broadcast of the entire Jornet attempt from 11am this Friday morning, departure time.
But, after 10h24 ‘of effort and a first 2-minute break an hour earlier to be examined by his medical team, the pains, in the shin and calf, combined with dizziness and eating problems, were right. the efforts of the Catalan who suddenly pulled up to the side at 9:24 p.m. then was convinced to give up by his staff. These leg pains were, however, already the reason for the postponement of his attempt, initially scheduled for the beginning of November.
Kilian Jornet had made his year 2020 the season of his trials on the flat. ” I did not do any specific training for a distance but I told myself that I could do a 10 km, a semi, a marathon, or a longer distance. But I had nothing specific in mind, I didn’t know what was going to happen “, He explained to us in an interview on November 2.
But the greatest ultra-trail runner in history had said it himself: he pushed too much in his preparation this spring, however precise, aiming to establish his reference times on the flat and validated his new protocols of training, a process which today is the real driving force behind its practice.
Soon back to the mountain
As a result, Jornet contracted periostitis last summer, which continued until the fall and which impacted his first challenge, a 10 km on the road on October 17 at Hytteplanmila, which he completed in 29 ’59’ ‘. A disappointment for Jornet, who had already flirted with 29’30 ” in training. The timing was tight to recover from his pains and challenge himself before the Norwegian winter brought the running season to an end.
So, was it still too soon after his injury to embark on an endeavor as physically impacting as running over 13km / h for 24 hours? The Spaniard almost answered it himself: “ Whatever happens, I will stop the dish at the end of 2020 to return to 100% efforts in the mountains. »
These 24 hours on the track sounded like a last-ditch attempt for Kilian Jornet, like a last somewhat uncertain push towards his 2020 objectives. But don’t we say that one of the primary qualities of a good mountaineer is to know how to give up when the conditions for the summit are not favorable?
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