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all terrain human


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Kilian Jornet sure is highly evolved for adaptability:

He is also the most visible figure in the growing “fastest known times” movement, in which runners measure how long it takes to complete geographic challenges — running up and down the Grand Teton in Wyoming, say, or around a lake — and then post their results online. This is often done on the honor system, although Jornet, the only fully sponsored professional in ultrarunning, frequently has others time him. In addition to the mark he set at Lake Tahoe, Jornet holds the record for the GR20 trail that traces Corsica’s mountainous spine, and he crossed the 500-plus miles of the Pyrenees in 8 days 3 hours 15 minutes. He has set records on the 19,341-foot Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (7 hours 14 minutes) and the 9,570-foot Mount Olympus in Greece (just under 5 hours 20 minutes).

His versatility amazes other runners, including Jurek, who today is a friend. Jornet has been able to run the very short mountain races like a vertical kilometer race that’s over in a couple of hours, Jurek says — and then, he adds, Jornet can turn around and win the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in California’s Sierra mountains, arguably the world’s most prestigious ultrarun. (Jurek himself won the Western States seven consecutive times between 1999 and 2005.) It’s a little like an Olympic-champion sprinter winning the Boston Marathon.

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