On another level…

We’ve featured this guy a fair bit over the last 24 hours, but to be honest the achievement that Kilian completed no more than a few hours ago at Matterhorn warrants a special mention. This guy is super human. The word legendary is vastly over-used in our sport, handed out to any Tom Dick or Harry. But still in his mid-twenties, there’s not a lot Kilian hasn’t done. What’s more, it’s scary to think what he will do in the next few years and as part of the Summits of My Life project, culminating in a speed ascent of Mount Everest.

But let’s rewind a little…

Some of us will remember when Kilian came to Australia a few years ago to race TNF100. He was pretty much superstar status back in Europe by this stage, but a crowd of just 30 people turned up in Manly to run with him – Australia really had no idea who he was to be honest. Humble, relaxed, playful and just downright talented, he took time to talk with anyone who wanted to, and then promptly destroyed the field to win the race off next to no training, having just come off the back of the ski season in Europe.

It’s worth mentioning that Kilian is not just a runner, he’s a world championĀ mountaineering skier too – representing Spain in 2007 and still doing so today. He still continues to ski in the winter, and you can pretty much add world-class mountaineer to that list as well. He’s one of those special genuine elite guys that could turn his hands to most sports and excel – these types are few and far between.

Master and the apprentice
Master and the apprentice

And so to the record he’s just smashed to bits. Bruno Brunod is another legend. A genuine one. It’s just that social media, egos and the Interwebs weren’t around or fully developed when he was racing and winning for fun. He holds a bag of records that have stood for years and years and instead of bragging about them over Facebook, he would have sat down with a few mates and chatted over a few classes of the finest red.

So who is Bruno Brunod? Most will have not heard of Bruno until news of this record came about – it’s only fair that we feature his achievements as part of this amazing journey that’s taking place in our sport right now. Well, Bruno discovered cycling during his military service and gave immediate proof of his skill as a climber on two wheels. He became a member of an amateur cycling team in Brianza. The well-known cyclist Chiappucci was also a member and when he approached a hill, his fellows told him, ‘position yourself behind Brunod and try to hang on’. However, his humble nature and his homesickness for his mountains caused him to give up cycling, even though his results were of the standard of a professional athlete.

Returning to his life as a stone mason, Brunod entered the world of mountain running almost as a diversion and quickly found success, setting a whole host of new records. He then ventured into SkyRunning and in a short time, became one of the strongest in the sport. For those not in the know, here’s a selection of what Bruno has done:

  • Record of ascent and descent of the Monte Rosa from Gressoney in 4 hours and 45 minutes
  • Record of ascent and descent of Aconcagua in 5 hours and 57 minutes
  • Record ascent of Kilimanjaro on the Marangu route Rout in 5 hours and 38 minutes
  • Record ascent of Mount Elbert in 1 hours and 54 minutes

To be honest, there’s not much more you can really say. The superlatives are fast running out… speechless, amazing, outstanding, mind-boggling… they’re all there. And the beauty of all this is that he does it purely for fun. There’s no money involved for setting a record (as far as I know), it’s simply down to personal achievement and desire to see what he is capable of. Instead, let’s simply marvel at a collection of some of the action best shots I’ve seen that capture the moments of Kilian on the Matterhorn.

Kilian training atop of Matterhorn on one of the eight attempts made over the last 2 weeks
Kilian training atop of Matterhorn on one of the eight attempts made over the last 2 weeks (picture credit Montaz / Rosset)
More training on Matterhorn
More training on Matterhorn
Hair-raising! No ropes, 1,000m drop either side. One mistake and you die... now consider Kilian ran down this earlier today...
Hair-raising! No ropes, 1,000m drop either side. One mistake and you die, now consider Kilian ran down this earlier today. (Credit Montaz / Rosset)
Kilian summits Matterhorn in 1hr 52mins
Kilian summits Matterhorn in 1hr 52mins

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Dan on Twitter
I'm a mediocre runner who can bat above his average when I train hard. A man of extremes, I do enjoy everything life offers and consider it an absolute pleasure just to be able to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander somewhere different.

6 thoughts on “On another level…

  1. The inclusion of Bruno is well-deserved. He’s a guy who might have gone the same way as Kilian. He started late. He worked an 8-10 day as a stone mason training before and/or afterwards. He raised a family of 5. In his own words, he thinks he could have done the record in under 3 hours – three years later. He’d taken three months off work for training and was on his best form ever, but, why bother? Note also that in ’95 there was ice on the mountain and fog…not to mention mountaineers hindering his descent. He will be remembered as an all-time great and, at 50, aiming for an 80-hour Tor de Geants. Grande Bruno!

    1. Thanks Lauri, certainly while we we recognise Kilian’s efforts, the main thrust of this article is to highlight two genuine great’s of the mountains and give Bruno the recognition he deserves as well. Thanks for your comments and invaluable insights.

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