Last Thursday, Molde7topper introduced their annual running race in Molde at a kick-off event in Bjørnsonhuset, and ski alpinist and mountain runner Kilian Jornet talked about his home in Romsdal, his passion for mountains and the distance between life and death.
Molde7topper is a 19km long running race, which takes its participants over seven peaks over Molde. Starting and finishing at the Romsdal Museum, runners climb over 1400 meters. The race takes place on the 26th of May, and Kilian Jornet – one of the best mountains runners in the world – should have been on the starting line.
Unfortunately, the Spanish runner, who found a home with his girlfriend Emelie Forsberg here in Romsdal, broke his leg and came to the kick-off event on crutches and with a cast on his leg.
“I just want to show you why I love mountains and what they can offer to anyone,” Kilian said.
“I was always racing a lot, but I prefer training. Racing was never my ultimate goal; it’s just a game. All I wanted was to be in the mountains,” Kilian said about his approach towards his sports career and lifestyle.
“The great thing about living in Norway is the weather. In the morning it’s snowing, then it’s sunny and in a second it’s raining. You have all four seasons in one day. Plus we really like skiing, and the winter here is very long,” Kilian said, explaining why they decided to move to Romsdal.
“Norway is perfect for sky running. You have untouched mountains with beautiful tracks. The mountains here are just good as those in the Alps, but here you are alone in the wilderness. And then there is the winter,” he said, refering to the snowstorm outside.
For the last five years, he has focused on a project ‘Summits of my life.’ His goal is to climb up different mountains all over the world, and all by himself, in the fastest possible time. Currently he holds records on Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and Denali, the highest mountain of North America.
“I don’t like long expeditions. I did Denali and Aconcagua almost without acclimatization. I was planning the trip to America, but there were perfect conditions for skiing in Alps, so I decided to make it as short as possible. I was struggling with the lack of acclimatization; I had no control of my legs when descending. I definitely learnt what not to do,” he said, describing his expedition to the highest mountain of South America.
“I did the record,” Kilian mentioned several times, just like by the way.
Kilian is showing some of videos from his training; singing, laughing, enthusiastically screaming. The passion and excitement for what he is doing is undeniable. Mountains seem to be just one big playground to him:
“I love training. I love pushing myself. Sometimes, I like to do stupid things to explore what my body is capable of. The difference between happiness and pain is so small. I love to suffer.”
“However, mountains are dangerous place. We are aware that we risk our lives. Coming from euphoria, happiness and adrenaline we are experiencing from doing something we love to sadness takes a second. You know accidents can happen, but you don’t realize it really concerns you until it happens. You never know when it might be you. So you have to make the most of every day. Mountaineering is about up and downs. We need to be aware of it,” Kilian said, pointing out the importance of knowing ones capabilities.
“I want to enjoy life, travelling, and adventures. I am willing to take the risk.”
The project ‘Summits of my life’ culminated with a record attempt on the highest mountain of the world, Mount Everest. He managed to race up the peak twice in a week in 17 hours. However, he did not set the record.
“Sometimes, after finishing the project, I was a bit sad that it was over, but on Everest I learned and experienced so much that it opened me to many new opportunities. Knowing that, I was actually very excited. Failure is a reason to come back.”
After talking about the world’s highest mountains he returned back to Romsdal Alps, showing a video from an insane skiing in a couloir at Trollveggen.
“It’s not only on Everest you have great challenges. You have challenges here in Romsdalen too,” he smiled.
After a great applause in the end, Kilian modestly added:
“Sport is overrated. I just can run and ski. That’s a stupid thing.”
Stupid thing that motives people from all over the world to put on shoes and go for a run.