Last I night I had the great pleasure of attending a sell-out screening of A Fine Line, part one of KilianJornet and Sebastien Montaz-Rosset's epic series, Summits Of My Life, at MK2 Paris. Kilian was in town for the weekend to run the Equipe10km for charity. A novel idea for an athlete who is more accustomed to 160km treks through rugged mountains. Kilian needs no introduction. Really. He is the first global superstar of the ultra-running world and people go nuts to get close to this modest, diminutive Catalan. He reminds me of a monk. Quietly spoken, wise, and with eyes that tell stories of things that most of us will never see. His physical prowess is beyond what most people can grasp and his pure love of the outdoors is like a conducting rod for runners the world over.
|A Fine Line equals a long line.|
I first found out about the screening ten days ago on social media and was quick to snap up a ticket. Wise move. Upon arrival (early) the queue already stretched the length of the promenade with a hefty aggregation of lithe, weather-beaten faces attired mostly in Salomon gear. I hopped in and waited. Eventually we were led to a screening room with a six hundred seat capacity. Spaces were few and I settled for a corner seat towards the back. Kilian and an emcee arrived half an hour before the film rolled. Kilian spoke of the experiences of shooting such a lofty project and how the death of his climbing partner, Stephane Brosse, left him wondering if indeed they would release the film at all. The crowd hung on his every word.
|Taking our places.|
|Kilian discusses his passions.|
|The signing, it was a long night for him.|
|Spot the mountain runner.|
|Running for Pearl.|
The screening itself was probably one of the most moving experiences I've had whilst sitting in a chair. The emotion, Seb's spectacular camera work, Kilian's incomprehensible prowess...... He is more than an athlete, he is an artist. I felt rejuvenated and without using the term tritely, inspired. I mean really inspired. To the point where one exits in a daze and sees everything in more detail, the sound of life being fine-tuned to block out the white-noise of traffic and chatter, my inner heartbeat the only auditory sensation. When it finished and Kilian reappeared, the applause accompanying our ten minute standing ovation was rapturous. He simply nodded and thanked the crowd repeatedly and said he was looking forward to returning south to his beloved mountains the next day. Having a seat at the back had its perks. When I exited I managed to get funneled into a line with four people in front of me for a book and DVD signing. Kilian took time to dedicate each item to his fans. After telling him how much his efforts were appreciated and recognised, he dedicated a message to Pearl and told me I was courageous for what I did for her. My respect for him could not be any higher. It is not because he is a running idol that he is so well liked, it is because he really is a wonderful person who loves what he does. Yes there may be sponsors and a crowd following him wherever he goes but you can tell he is the real deal just in the way he carries himself. I have met a few other “ultra-stars” in my time and they could do with taking a few lessons in humility from him. What I learned from that night is simple, life is A Fine Line. One minute you can be here and the next minute gone. The trappings of life and the excess baggage we feel we need to carry in order to be fulfilled or acknowledged is the surest way to never achieve anything lasting. Living in the moment with a purposeful stride that is aimed at a cherished goal must surely be the fuel to sustaining a simplistic and all encompassing happiness.