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Kilian Jornet almost retires from running, gives away shoes for charity instead

The ultrarunner pranked his fans on April Fools' Day before announcing a contest to raise money for workers on the frontlines during COVID-19

Kilian Jornet

Trail and ultra running fans across the world awoke to shocking news this morning as they learned that Spanish ultra runner Kilian Jornet had announced his retirement from running. This was, of course, an April Fools’ Day joke, which Jornet and his sponsors at Salomon later admitted. Since he isn’t retiring yet, Jornet will be giving away signed shoes in a contest to raise money for people working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jornet’s retirement

Jornet and Salomon posted his fake retirement announcement to Twitter with a video in which the runner says he plans to pursue his new passion of fishing. In the video, which shows Jornet making his way down to a lake with his fishing rod and tackle box, the former Ultra Trail Mont Blanc (UTMB) champion says his running career “has been very fun, but I needed some calm, some rest.” Fishing, Jornet says, is the “perfect activity for that.”

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Salomon sports marketing manager Bruno Laroque is interviewed, and he says Salomon has “a longterm commitment to all of our athletes.” Because of this, the retirement video doubles as a promotion for Salomon’s newest product: the S/Lab Carbon Fishing Rod.

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Like Jornet’s retirement, the ad is a joke, but the Salomon website has a page showing off the fishing rod, and it says “the few editions available have already found new owners.” So maybe you could have owned a limited edition Salomon fishing rod. If you were one of the lucky few to order one before they ran out, congratulations. The good news is that you can still win some Salomon shoes signed by Jornet.

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Donations for medical workers

The contest will have three winners, each of whom will receive a pair of shoes worn by Jornet—one from Sierre-Zinal in 2018, another from UTMB in 2017 and the last from the 2019 Golden Trail Series in Nepal.

Kilian Jornet
Photo: Pascal Tournaire/UTMB

If you want to enter, check out Jornet’s website and the Salomon Instagram page to read about the contest and the rules. There are a few steps to enter, but the short of it is, to be eligible to win, contestants must make donations to the World Health Organization and United Nations Foundation. The proceeds will be used to help the global fight against COVID-19.