Killian Jornet is a multi-record holding athlete with formidable tenacity. This awe-inspiring individual is a man of many titles, competing and winning as a pro sky runner, trail runner, ski mountaineer and long-distance runner.
Jornet is a six-time champion of the long-distance running Skyrunner World Series and has won some of the world’s most prestigious ultramarathons, including the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, Grand Raid, the Western States Endurance Run and the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run. He also holds the fastest known time for the ascent and descent of Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Denali and Everest! We’re thrilled to share with you an exclusive interview with Kilian Jornet, in which he tells Trees Not Tees about his toughest challenge yet, tackling climate change.
What’s your proudest or happiest moment as a runner?
I don’t like to look at the past to feel proud but take the knowledge from past runs to future runs. I think what I’m happy with is to be able to run at an ok level over different distances and surfaces.
Where is your favourite place to run and why?
My favourite places offer variation, but where I feel more excited is in technical and alpine terrain, when you need to use your hands and your arms to pull sometimes, and to use different techniques to pass through snow, ice and rock… The Scandinavian mountains, The Alps, Himalayas etc. There are many places for that!
How concerned are you about the climate crisis?
I think I had an education where the environment and our role in the ecosystem was very present, but it’s been during the last 5 or 6 years where I have become much more aware of the real impact humans are having on the planet and the urgency of the matter.
I think if we don’t start a transition towards a more sustainable way of living soon (or now!) the next generation will face problems that might not be possible to resolve.– Killian Jornet
What impact have your concerns about the climate crisis had on your lifestyle?
Some have been long-time lifestyle habits, like being vegetarian. Others more recently include looking into how and what to buy and the sustainability of the brands or markets behind the products, or switching the bank where I have my account, how our home is powered and how much power we use. Or how I travel. For many years I have been traveling as the norm, because I could go to this or that race. Now it is the exception, I travel once or twice a year to a project or event that has a strong meaning.
Do you think the running world is doing enough about the climate crisis?
Not at all. I think outdoor people have a bigger conscience about the environment, but as seen in a study of active sport participants, outdoor sports participants have larger emissions of CO2. Plus, we still see many goodies or single use products…so, there is a lot to do.
What appeals to you about Trees Not Tees?
It is a “simple” and single action and is a double contribution, eliminating a goodie and planting a tree. It is also a very visual way to open up the environmental conversation and to make people aware of the problems.
Trees Not Tees has big potential to solve the problem of pollution and to increase the forest mass and capture CO2.Killian Jornet
What’s next for you?
As an athlete, this year is where I try to train on the flat and will see if I can do some races in this context and from next year, be back on mountain projects. And I want to give more time and effort in the Foundation that I created to bring solutions to fighting climate change and the preservation of the mountain environments.
Kilian has been climbing mountains and crossing glaciers his whole life and has observed first-hand the devastating effects of climate change. The Kilian Jornet Foundation has been set up to raise awareness, research and educate about the preservation of mountains and their environment.