Kilian Jornet already has his ‘Flu Game’: victory and record in the UTMB with a positive in Covid

Kilian Jornet already has his ‘Flu Game’: victory and record in the UTMB with a positive in Covid
Kilian Jornet already has his ‘Flu Game’: victory and record in the UTMB with a positive in Covid

“If I go past my heart rate threshold, I start to notice that in my lungs.” Kilian Jornet, in conversation with his team. It was the provisioning of Champex Lakein Swiss. He had run 126 kilometers and still had 45 to go. Jornet there are incredible victories, unique deeds, unthinkable adventures, but nothing can be compared with the success achieved this Sunday in the Mont Blanc Ultra Trail (UTMB), the best mountain race in the world.

Gan, yes. I won for the fourth time (2008, 2009 and 2011) and after 10 years without doing it, yes. But mostly I got sick. The impossible. How to run 171 kilometers and 10,000 meters of unevenness with a virus on top? How to do it at a breakneck pace, in less than 20 hours, a border that was believed insurmountable? Only Jornet knows.

A couple of weeks ago, her partner, also a runner Emelie Forsberg announced that he had tested positive for covid and that this modified its calendar. Jornet, despite this, declared that he had tested negative at all times, that he had no symptoms. But he ran his last race before the UTMB, the Sierra Zinal Switzerland and had a terrible time. Dizziness, cramps… I finished fifth. Then came his positive and a recovery process that had not finished when the Spaniard took the start of the UTMB in Chamonix, in France, a town dedicated to his figure. His performance was unknown. If the bad feelings returned, it would be very difficult to compete for almost a whole day with a bad body. And the bad feelings came. And Jornet, despite everything, endured and won.

None of his rivals were able to defeat him and that some, like the American Jim WalmsleyThey had even changed their residence -from the United States to France-, their routine, their life to try it. As always, Jornet was not the fastest at all times, but he was the most consistent, the one who was best known. Hence the statements to his team. If he kept up the pace, he held on, despite the Covid. If not, he would have ended up withdrawing.

Up to three opponents tried to break him and no one succeeded. First of all, the Spanish Pau Capell, winner in 2019, came out unabated, at a very high pace, hoping to take the pack of favorites with him, but there was no response. In the end, heartbroken, I gave up. After Walmsley, the Kilian Yankee, the man called to defeat him, demarched during the night and opened a gap of more than 15 minutes behind him. But I also ended up exhausted. And in the end the French Mathieu Blanchard He even paired up with Jornet and they traveled several kilometers together until the Spaniard, at the exit of the Vallorcine aid station, decided that the competition was over.

Alone, happy, he allowed himself a mass bath at the goal of Chamonix, where he lived for several years before moving to Norway. Alone, happy, he confirmed that in the mountains there has never been and never will be an athlete like him. A legend, from this Sunday even bigger.

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The article is in Spanish

Tags: Kilian Jornet Flu Game victory record UTMB positive Covid