Can you imagine climbing the height of 10 Eiffel Towers in just over two hours? That’s what Swiss mountain runner and ski mountaineer Rémi Bonnet managed when he ran up the Italian mountain Rocciamelone as part of the Red Bull K3 race.
He exploded the course record, running up the 3,538m high peak in 2h 1m 57s (previous record was 2h 06m 30s) – a distance of just under 10k and a gradient of 35 percent. That's a rate of 1494 metres of vertical climb per hour!
Bonnet is a new skyrunning phenomenon. He's only 20 years old and was junior world champion of ski mountaineering three years ago. He can climb 1,000 vertical metres in only 30 minutes (his record is 30m 44s, while the world record is 29m 42s).
At Red Bull K3, he managed to overtake world-class athletes like Karl Egloff or Marco Moletto and his goal for the next few years is to smash the two-hour barrier in the distance. Read the interview below to see what Rémi has to say about the race.
Watch these athletes run up a 3500m peak here
So the obvious question, what did it feel like to win the Red Bull K3?
It felt very good, I was able to go very fast at the beginning and continue like that, so it was a very good race for me. In the second part I looked at my watch and I could see that it was possible to break the record. From there I continued to push more, and broke the record, easy!
You only decided to take part a few days before, right?
Yeah, I saw the video on Facebook and it looked cool. I hadn’t planned to take part, but I sent an email to the organisers and decided to take part two days before!
No one said running up a mountain would be easy
The race looks totally thigh-burning...
The second part was toughest because all you can see is grass and it’s so steep. After that you begin to see the finish, and there’s a lot of rocks so that’s a wonderful part, and there’s a lot of people to cheer you on.
What kind of training do you do for a race like this?
I train normally for ski mountaineering and I run and ride my bike. I don’t follow a training plan as such, I train according to how I feel and I think that’s most important.
You’re also a very successful ski mountaineer, does that help with your running?
Yes, I use the same muscle groups, and I think it’s a very similar sport, so the training is very complementary.
What is so cool about running uphill?
Because I am very light, I am able to and love going uphill fast. It’s my favourite sport I think!
So what’s next for you?
I am going to the US for The Rut Vertical K, which is part of the Skyrunner World Series. Then I’m going to Limone for the VK race. After those races I will train for ski mountaineering on the glacier.