Just like in any sport, technology is coming into play as an edge over your opponent or competitor. In endurance sports like long distance running/ultra marathon runs, technology plays on the runner’s kit (shoes and apparel), nutrition, and hydration. This is in addition with the technology devoted on the running form and body/physical structure of the runner; and other training-related “ways and means” in order to win in a certain race.
In the newly-concluded Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, interest had been focused on the training/preparation and the equipment/kit & nutrition that the Champion, Kilian Jornet, had used during the race. On the training/preparation, we all know that Kilian Jornet had been all around Europe and the world, so to speak, since his 3rd finish in last year’s Western States 100 to compete in ultra trail races and documenting his “Kilian Quest” as sponsored by Salomon. Last May, 5 weeks before the WS 100, he won and registered a course record for the TNF 100K in Australia.
Kilian's Shorts & Shirt (A close-up with my picture with him reveals its Gel pockets) Source: Competitor.com
In his attire during this year’s WS 100, we was wearing a loose “muscle shirt-type” upper attire which is colored white and combined with a loose trail shorts which has an inseam of about 3-4 inches. But if you noticed closely the upper white portion of his shorts, you could see a belt-type pocket all-around his waist where you can see GU Gels in it. It appears that the belt/waist portion of the shorts is lined-up with secret pockets where the runner can store/carry gels or powdered electrolytes. Wearing loose apparel was a way to solve the the hot temperature on the canyons along the route of the race.
I did not see Kilian using a hydration bottle when he reached the Placer Oval Track. He was not holding anything during his last 300 meters to the finish line. However, in his pre-interviews, he stated that Salomon had made a special hand glove water bottles for him which he can hold while running. Kilian was a victim of lack of hydration and electrolytes on the last quarter part of last year’s WS 100 as he experience muscle cramps. As you can see in his first attempt in the WS 100, he was not holding or wearing a hydration system during the race.
In an article at Competitor.com, the hand glove bottles were featured as shown below:
Hand Gloves With Water Bottles & Food Bars (Source: Competitor.com)
As for the running shoes, he used the lightest Salomon Trail Shoes which is considered as a prototype to be tested in the said race.
Salomon Trail Shoes (Source: Competitor.com)
And he was running without any socks!!!
Looking at the physical structure of Kilian, he was very light in weight. His height could be 5 feet and 6 inches with a weight of about 130-135 pounds. Using the lightest apparel and equipment and proper nutrition and hydration, could result to a well-trained and prepared athlete for the Championship in this race.
Of course, he has the Salomon Team on his “back and sides” to fully support and finance him just to be able to win the most prestigious 100-Mile Trail Run in Northern America.
This is an example and mark of what we call, “Sports Excellence”.
If you are wondering at what age he started to be trained and his exploits in the past, you can read his story and other related topics about him at www.kilianjornet.cat.
On the latest interview of Kilian Jornet after his win in the WS 100, you can read about his insights here at Running Times.