Kilian Jornet is once again the UTMB champion, and in 2022 he did it in even more impressive style than ever before. His fourth victory saw him break the course record and become the first person to set a sub-20-hour time on the famous course.
Yet despite the emphatic nature of his athletic display over the 19 hours and 49 minutes it took him to complete the race, Jornet admits that at no point did he ever feel comfortable.
“Since the start there has not been a single moment in which I have not suffered,” he said in his post-race interview.
That was obvious throughout. At times in the race he did not look as stunningly unwavering as he often does mid-race, likely in no small part to the fact he had recently tested positive for COVID, something that threatened his participation in the race.
However, he made it to the start line, wearing a mask to be sure of not infecting anyone, and away he went with the UTMB music blaring away.
It was far from easy. “When I cross my threshold, I notice that in my lungs, I can’t breathe well and the cramps in my legs start ,” he told his doctor at the checkpoint Champex-Lac.
At that point he was third, but from then he would kick on whilst long-time race leader Jim Walmsley would falter, Jornet powering himself to a historic win.
“It has been an incredible race,” Jornet said after his victory. “For me it is a special day that I will remember for a long time. Thanks to the spectators who were on the mountain I have been able to reach the final and that fast.
“What I will remember at the end are those moments, the victory and winning. Yes I am happier, but the important thing is the experience, the hours spent all night with Jim and then the whole final part with Mathieu Blanchard, that we have helped each other and fought together.
“Above all to see so many people on the route and thanks to all of them, that I have not been able to thank them during the route.”