In Singapore, it is common to get visits or talks by world renowned celebrities. But while it is relatively common, the chances of them appearing is usually thanks to high profile media events. It is then even less common for athletes known on an international level to stop by Singapore to visit.
This rare opportunity came about as RSVP’ed my interest to meet an international trail runner represented by Salomon Running. I had little idea of who he is at first. But I would soon find out, thanks to a little help from Google.
Kilian Jornet, a Spanish trail runner with Salomon Santiveri, visits Singapore, and was set to grace the official grand opening of the first Salomon Branded Store at Velocity, Novena Square. He also hot off his recent win at 25th Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon held in Malaysia. He is a multi-time ski-mountaineering, mountain running and ultra-trail running champion. He is also the first non-American winner of the 2011 Western States 100 Endurance Run.
I arrived somewhat early for the race clinic, which preceded the official opening. I got myself seated at around 2.30pm, to which the event started. We were introduced by Gregory Vollet, Team Manager for the Salomon International Racing Team.
The introduction centered around Salomon’s history, philosophy, product technologies and current offerings. It is quite interesting insight as the company was once a ski-company, but developed into a trail-running sports company.
After the introduction by Greg, it was time to hear Kilian Jornet address the attendees of the workshop. It was quite inspiring to see him speak in real person, as opposed to watching his videos online. Kilian is as ever, brutally honest about himself, and is genuinely a humble person given all his accomplishments. He took time to answer questions that the attendees had, giving his insights and experiences of training in the trails, as well his own opinion of our little island country.
The last Q&A finished off with a short segment on Movescount.com, a website which facilitates the uploading and sharing of running data on the web by way of Suunto, by which Kilian himself uses.
And of course, who could pass up an opportunity to take a photo with him? But I’ll be honest here, I am never good with idols and celebrities. I do look up to them as inspiration, but other than a handshake, a quick conversation, and a photograph, I really don’t have much to ask from.
It was a great opportunity to have been able to meet a great athlete speak live in person. Even more so getting a chance to shake hands and have a photo taken, is probably something I wouldn’t have thought would happen in my lifetime. Kudos to Salomon for organizing the event, and bringing an athlete of his caliber to share his experiences with us local runners.
“Once you start trail running, you’ll never go back, it’s just different from the road” – Kilian Jornet, 2011, Singapore