Kilian Jornet (KJ) is presently the world’s best mountain trail ultramarathon runner who won almost all the hardest and most challenging ultramarathon trail races; mountain running races; and had ran from Camp #1 to the peak of Mt Everest twice without the aid of any oxygen support. He is from Catalonia, Spain but he is now residing in Norway with his family (wife and child).
Last October 17, 2020, he ran a 10K flat road race at Hytteplanmilla, Norway and finished with a time of 29:59 minutes which was his first experience and exposure in road running. A few days after, he announced, together with his Shoe Sponsor, Salomon, that he is going to attempt to break the 24-Hour Endurance World Record of 303.5 kilometers (189 miles) made by Yiannis Kouros on October 4, 1997 in Adelaide, Australia. The event was called “Phantasm 24” where KJ will run with other Norway’s fast road marathon runners in an Oval Track in Mandalen, Norway. The objectives of the event were: (1) Break the World Record of Yiannis Kouros in the 24-Hour Run; and (2) Promote the New Salomon S/LAB Phantasm shoes for Road Racing. The event was scheduled on November 27, 2020 with much hype in the printed media as well as in the Internet. It was featured LIVE on Facebook.
Barely one hour before the Start of the event, I posted a video on my You Tube Channel with the prediction that Kilian Jornet will FAIL in his attempt to break the course record.
I watched the LIVE Coverage of the Event from the Start on Facebook up to the middle of the 6th Hour and then went to bed. As I woke up the following day, I was surprised to find out on my Facebook Newsfeed that Kilian Jornet had dropped from the event at 10:20 hours covering a distance of 134.8 kilometers with a freezing temperature. According to the video posted by Kilian Jornet on Instagram, he felt intense pains in his chest and started to get very dizzy and exhausted. His medical team immediately checked on him and he was advised to be brought to the hospital for some tests.
Hereunder is the comparison of the number of laps between Yiannis Kouros Run and Kilian Jornet’s Run:
Comparing from the 1st Hour to the 4th Hour, Yianni Korous and Kilian Jornet were the same in the number of laps that they have finished. But on the 5th Hour, Kilian was behind 2 laps and that started the downfall in Kilian Jornet’s attempt to break the Course Record of Yianni Kouras of running 303.5 kilometers in 24 hours. And at the 5th hour, KJ was overlapped for so many times by another runner, Sebastian Conrad Hakannson, who was a consistent winner of the Oslo Marathon Triple Race (Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 10K Race in the same day).
On the 6th hour, I have observed that he was spitting something on the track which was followed with a “pit stop” and I knew that something was wrong. From there, I went to bed and as I woke up the following day, I saw on my Facebook Newsfeed that KJ had dropped at 10:24 hour mark and finished 134.8 kilometers or 83.13 miles.
What went wrong? Here are my personal opinion about KJ’s attempt to break the course record:
- Lack of training on flat road and oval track, most specially on track where you have a lot of curves. Even if the direction of run is changed every 4 hours, the body needs to adapt to this kind of running for a considerable time. Yiannis Korous took a lot of attempts to reach the 300K distance in the past.
- Nutrition could be the most important factor that KJ failed to consider. A runner could not survive with only Gels and drinks for Timed Events.
- Colder Environment: there is less perspiration on body liquid loss but a runner needs more energy to generate the normal heat or temperature for the body. Solid food is the only source of calories that generate heat to the body.
- Higher elevation vs Sea Level performance: Yiannis Kouros did his run in a place where the elevation is not much or near sea level elevation. KJ should think if it is better for him to train in higher elevation and do the attempt on a lower elevation.
- According to his Salomon Team, he was feeling dizzy and have some knee pain developing. So officially, it can be deduced that his dizziness was brought about by a nutrition problem and his knee pain could be attributed to some muscular deficiency.
In due time, Kilian Jornet will bounce back and break the 24-hour run record with more training and some adjustments in his strategy. Yiannis Kouros did attain or did the course record with a single attempt, instead, it took him almost 13 years with lots of failures in this feat.