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 Italian mountain Rocciamelone as part of the Red Bull K3 race.
He smashed the course record, running up the 11,608-foot-high peak in 2h 1m 57s (the previous record was 2h 06m 30s). The actual distance covered was just under 10k at a gradient of 35 percent. That's a rate of 4,902 feet 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 meters in nearly 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 and Marco Moletto. His goal for the next few years is to smash the two-hour barrier in the distance. Watch the K3 athletes scale Rocciamelone in the video above, and read the interview below to see what Bonnet has to say about the race.
So, the obvious question: What did it feel like to win 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 easily!
You only decided to enter the race 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 organizers and decided to take part two days before!
The race looks like a real thigh burner.
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 are 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 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 go uphill fast. It’s my favorite 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.