On Friday, a cold and icy day in Norway, Kilian Jornet ran his first-ever track race in an attempt to break Yiannis Kouros‘s 24-hour world record. It didn’t go well. Jornet got 10 hours in before stopping due to chest pain and dizziness. His attempt, unfortunately, ended in a trip to the hospital, and none of the other competitors came close to breaking the longstanding world record.
Thanks to all for your support. During the run I felt a sudden sharp chest pain and needed to spent the night on observation. Races sometimes don’t go well…so it is a good excuse to try it again 😉 pic.twitter.com/EjLrYdis4n
— kilian jornet (@kilianj) November 28, 2020
Jornet posted on Twitter following his trip to the hospital that he’s home now and doing much better. “The race was going well at the beginning, I was feeling good. Just some ups and downs, some small pains… but that’s normal for these long races. Suddenly I got two big chest oppressions, it was a very sharp pain and I felt very dizzy and exhausted and I needed to stop.”
He continued, “Conditions weren’t perfect, it was a bit colder than we expected, but for the runners, I think it was fine. It was much more challenging for the organizers to keep the track salted so we could keep running. I wanted to give a better show. For now, it’s time to rest a bit and think about the next project.” Jornet covered 134.8K in 10 hours and 20 minutes total and ran his first 42.2K in 3:02:23 – a far cry from the record but a good showing, still. He averaged 4:38 per kilometre.
The winner of the event was Harald Bjerke of Norway. Bjerke took the title after covering 232.2K in 24 hours. Bjerke’s run was extremely impressive, especially considering the poor conditions, but he was still 70K off Kouros’s record, which has stood for 23 years.
While the track is a much more predictable environment than Jornet is used to on the trails or in the mountains, it proved to be more difficult than expected. Hopefully he’ll decide to give the track a go again one day, because many fans are curious to see if Jornet, who has won all of the big ultratrail races, can handle this new surface and overtake arguably the strongest record in the books.