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September 24, 2009

Feelmax Video; Kilian's Quest

A couple of videos to carry you through the weekend, one of which features yet another young adventurer taking on an epic running quest – but it’s not the enigmatic Tellman (last seen somewhere in eastern Pennsylvania) mentioned a couple of weeks ago. It’s someone with far more organizational (not to mention promotional) support who seemingly has a far better chance of success at his task.

But first, one more brief and slightly bewildering mention of the Feelmax company whose products I reviewed this week.

I’ve mentioned a few times how the whole barefoot running movement has taken a few small companies by surprise, and Feelmax is a classic example. They made unique footwear, to be certain, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what target demographic they had in mind with advertisements such as this one:

It’s visually stunning, for sure ... but the purpose seems kind of vague - unless, of course, you make a habit of loading up a backpack to hike through forests and up enormous hills for the purpose of playing hacky sack at the top, in which case this one’s right in your wheelhouse. Otherwise, maybe not so much.

I find myself really cheering for Feelmax to get a foot in the door (see what I did there?) in US markets and become part of the running and fitness industry landscape, but you never know how it’s going to play out for some of these smaller businesses over the long haul. I’d absolutely love to see them on Shark Tank one of these weeks, scoring some big financing along with expert marketing and distribution folks in their corner to help make that happen – but perhaps they shouldn’t take business advice from someone who is hooked on reality television. It’s probably better if I just stay out of it.

The second video highlights the current exploits of a phenomenal young ultrarunner named Kilian Jornet.

I was contacted by a PR rep of Kilian’s, which almost always triggers a quick “No, thanks” reply from me, but it’s one of those cool stories that could potentially become a “I remember the first time I heard of that guy” type of thing if Kilian becomes the next Scott Jurek or something. So I’ll just provide a brief summary with some links and a video, and let you follow along if it interests you.

Kilian’s a 21-year-old Catalan who has been pretty much unbeatable over the past couple of years in several prestigious mountain races and ultras – he’s the 2-time defending champion of the Mont Blanc 100-miler, for example - and is now turning his sights to a year-long series of mind-boggling multi-day ultrarunning adventures. He is sponsored by Salomon Running, who have dedicated an entire video series to Kilian’s exploits over those 12 months.

This Monday and Tuesday, Kilian will be attempting to break the Tahoe Rim Trail speed record set in 2005 by an ultrarunner most Western States enthusiasts have heard of once or twice before – a guy named Tim Tweitmeyer. The current record for the mountainous 165-mile loop stands at 45 hours and 58 minutes; many ultrarunning insiders predict that Kilian will take that record down quite handily.

One of those insiders is Bryon Powell, who operates the outstanding iRunFar website. He’ll be covering the record attempt all weekend, so check out his blog for further updates.

Here’s the Salomon teaser for Kilian’s TRT attempt:

And since I said it for the oddball barefoot guy, I guess I should say it for the young stud ultrarunner: Run, Kilian, Run!


Runnerchiq... 9/25/09, 6:27 PM  

Thanks for sharing the Kilian video! It's a great video and I'm excited to see what he can do!

Anne 9/26/09, 4:14 PM  

What stunning landscapes in each video! You know, I watched Werner Herzog's documentary on Antartica last weekend and he took a swipe at the current barefoot craze and people who set out to break records, just to prove they can. All the same, it amazes me the amount of time, money and energy people will devote to a personal quest like Kilian's. I wish him well.

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