Moshi, Tanzania, October 1. Spanish ultra runner Kilian Jornet, 22, set a new speed record at Mount Kilimanjaro, running from base camp to Uhuru Peak and back in 7 hours, 14 minutes. The previous record was held by Tanzanian ultra runner and mountain guide Simon Mtuy in 8 hours, 27 minutes. At 19,340 feet, Kilimanjaro is the tallest peak in Africa and a popular trekking destination. Most climbers take about seven days to summit.
Jornet started his run at 7:15 a.m. from Umbwe Gate, elevation 5249 feet, and reached the summit 5 hours, 23 minutes, 50 seconds later, breaking the ascent mark of 5:32 held previously by Bruno Brunod of Italy. Jornet spent about ten minutes on top and then descended the 13,960 vertical feet back to the finish at Mweka Gate in a startling 1:41. Mtuy helped organize the attempt and was graciously waiting at the finish. The round-trip is about 53 km (32.9 miles).
Jornet, from the town of Puigcerdà in the Pyrenees, is a two-time winner of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, and finished third at Western States in June.
photo above: Kilian Jornet on the ascent portion of his record run (photo by Stephan Repke)
below: graphic of route and elevation profile, courtesy ultimatekilimanjaro.com