I wish I had fully appreciated the magnificent achievements of Kilian Jornet before I met him.
It was in London last November when his engaging tale of daring do, a book called ‘Run or Die.’ It was justifiably shortlisted for the prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year award.
The book may not have won the award but it is an exhilarating read. A week after I met him I knew so much more about the man. Channel 4 News featured him and showed some jaw dropping video footage of him up a mountain somewhere.
Kilian and I did get to talk about Spain and the fact that he had once lived for many months up at the southerly most ski resort in Europe, the often overlooked Sierra Nevada resort that sits high above the great city of Granada. But the pressure of time didn’t allow us to talk longer about the book.
I’m guessing the chances of my catching up with Kilian once again in this lifetime range from no chance to zero. I hope I do. Such a meeting will not happen up a mountain, that’s for sure. And I suspect his walk down Piccadilly last November was as close as he gets to what is laughingly called civilisation.
His documentary project, The Summits of My Life, is a must watch. It doesn’t matter if, like me, you have never wished to ski or run up a mountain. Just admire a man who does.
He speaks softly and modestly of his achievements: “Mountains can reflect our joys but also our deepest fears. When you are there, in silence and alone in the mountain, you are forced to meet the real ‘you’.
“Summits of My Life is a way to show the daily life of a really minor sport. With this project we also want to show that there is a lot of hard work and months of preparation behind a sport. I’s not like you start running and you get to the top of the mountain. We also want to communicate the values we have just talked about, by explaining how I ascend and descend the peaks.
“I always try to think about the exciting challenges the future will bring. This always helps to motivate me during those rainy days you would prefer to stay home.”
And where is home? Kilian has lived all over the place, and often in the most basic of conditions. He told me his first home was in the beautiful Pyrenees. But he’s also lived in the French ski resort of Chamonix, in the Sierra Nevada resort in Granada, Spain and in the place most people go to in order to see the northern lights, Tromso. He says Norway is: “A place I really love and enjoy.”
I hope to God I get the chance to meet Kilian Jornet again. He’s a fascinating man and I have so much more I want to ask him.