Categorized | Book Review, Primary

Book Review of Run or Die, Kilian Jornet

Posted on 09 August 2013


I received a copy of Kilian’s new book in the mail from new friends that we recently met during a trip to Florence Italy a few weeks ago. As all ultrarunners and now more mainstream runners know of Kilian’s amazing talent running in the mountains it was very nice to see he can craft a very nice book.

endurance racing report book review


The book is not about training plans, nutrition and some of the similar themes of many of the endurance based sports books, but a description of the various journeys, races and lifestyle as one of the top mountain runners on the globe. It starts with some background growing up and progressing with passion for the mountains, outdoors and of course the insatiable desire to race as hard as possible. His writing style is very descriptive and makes you feel that you’re right there with him during these incredible athletic accomplishments. Also, as you might imagine he as amazing pain tolerances and mental fortitude to push well beyond what most athletes can handle in an event. His training regime is 360 days a year and more importantly his absolute desire to enjoy running in the mountains comes across every page of the book. To him it’s clear that he loves to race, but more important is to live a lifestyle of being in nature around the globe.

I highly recommend the book if you need some inspiration for your athletic endeavors. It’s a quick read with 180 pages that will leave you with wanting to get out the door immediately and get into the running zone! I leave you with his Skyrunner’s Manifesto which will give you some perspective on his zest for life and running.

The SkyRunner’s Manifesto by Killian Jornet
The words he reads before every morning before training

Kiss or kill. Besa o mata. Kiss glory or die in the attempt. Losing is death; winning is life. The fight is what decides the victory, the winner. How often have rage and pain made you cry? How often has exhaustion made you lose your memory, voice, common sense? And how often in this state have you exclaimed, with a broad smile on your face, “The final stage! Two more hours! Go, onward and upward! That pain only exists inside your head. Control it, destroy it, eliminate it, and keep on. Make your rivals suffer. Kill them.” I am selfish right? Sport is selfish, because you must be selfish to know how to fight on while your suffer, to love solitude and hell. Stopping, coughing, feeling cold, not feeling your legs, feeling sick, vomiting, getting headaches, cuts, bleeding…. Can you think of anything better?

The Secret isn’t in your legs, but in your strength of mind. You need to go for a run when it is raining, windy, and snowing, when lightening sets trees on fire as you pass them, when the snowflakes or hailstones strike your legs and body in the storm and make you weep, and in order to keep running, you have to wipe away the tears to see the stones, walls or sky. The strength of mind to say no to hours of partying, to good grades, to a pretty girl, to the bedsheets against your face. To put your soul into it, going out into the rain until your legs bleed from the cuts when you slip on the mud and fall to the ground, and then get back on your feet and continue uphill until your legs cry out, “Enough!” and leave you marooned in a storm on the remotest peaks, until you die.

Leggings soaked by snow, driven on by the wind that sticks to your face and freezes your sweat. Feeling the pressure from your legs, the weight of your body bearing down on the metatarsals in your toes, pressure that can shatter rocks, destroy planets, and move continents. Legs suspended in the air, gliding like an eagle, or running faster than a cheetah. Running downhill, slipping on the snow and mud before driving yourself on anew, and suddenly you are free to fly, to shout out in the heart of the mountain, with only the most intrepid rodents and birds hidden in their nests beneath the rocks as your confessors. Only they know your secretes, your fears. Because losing is death. And you should not die before you have given your all, have wept from the pain and the wounds. And you cannot surrender. You must fight on to the death. Because glory is the greatest, and you can either aspire to glory or fall by the wayside. You cannot simply not fight, not suffer, not die….Now is the time to suffer, the time to fight, the time to win. Kiss or kill.


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