[Advendure]: Hi Karl! Since it’s the first time that you visit Greece to participate in a mountain running race, can you introduce yourself to the Greek running community? Who is Karl Egloff?
[K. Egloff]: Hi, first of all THANK YOU. My name is Karl Egloff, I’m 36 years old, I was born in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, a beautiful small country in the middle of the Andes and the Pacific Coast in South America. 2007-2015 I was a dedicated Mountain biker racing all over the world. Since my childhood thanks to my father I loved mountains so I decided to be a professional mountain guide. On 2012 I discovered to climb mountains against the clock. To be fast I started to trail a lot. I have broken a few world speed records like Kilimanjaro on 2014, Aconcagua on 2015, Huascaran on 2016 and there are many projects more to come if I keep lucky and healthy.
[Advendure]: Can you give some insights on how did you learn about the Ursa Trail in Metsovo. What was that led you to come and race here? Do you know anything or anyone from the Greek mountain running scene?
[K. Egloff]: Sakis told me on 2015 in K3 Italy about his amazing country and its mountains. I always wanted to discover Greece but never had the chance before. On January this year Sakis invited me and it was clear, I’m coming to Greece.
[Advendure]: We have already watched some of your videos and we have seen you‘re very familiar with all types of mountain terrain. How did you manage to gain such skills?
[K. Egloff]: Thank you very much. Ecuador is a very diverse country, you have altitude next door, mountains of six thousand meters, steep volcanos everywhere, valleys with deep vegetation and mud, rocks and all other terrains, even glaciers!
[Advendure]: An athlete with such performances, most of the times has a rich sports background. Is this the case with you?
[K. Egloff]: I grew up with a mountain guide father who always took me to the mountains. When I was a teenager soccer was my favorite sport I even played in several swiss teams and played many tournaments, but an injury obliged me to take a time off so I stared to bike, a year later I started to compete and found an amazing time as a pro athlete representing Ecuador even in 2 world championships. Mountain climbing was my lifestyle always, I never stopped but focused more and more after biking. I started to trail 3 years ago.
[Advendure]: We got to know Karl Egloff when in August of 2014 broke the ascent / descent speed record on Kilimanjaro. Your speed record on Aconcagua came to no surprise after that. The fact that these records “belonged” to Kilian Jornet was an extra motivation for you or would you try them anyway?
[K. Egloff]: When I was a biker I did not know anything about the world of trail running as in those days it was not even popular in Ecuador. I got an invitation of a swiss agency to guide a group at Kilimanjaro and got in love with this amazing landscapes and scenery. The porters and guides told me to try a speed attempt as they saw me training in altitude almost every day so for the first time I goggled and discovered this amazing super talented athlete called Kilian Jornet. When I flew to Kilimanjaro I read his book and knew I don’t have anything to lose, I was the underdog, so why not to try once. He is a better athlete then me, I just wanted to try and figured out that it’s an amazing sport. After Kili I stared to focus on FKT (Fastest Known Time) and started to run more and more…
Karl meets Kilian...
[Advendure]: After Aconcagua, next target was McKinley but as far as we know such effort never happened. Can you tell us the reasons?
[K. Egloff]: It is an expensive mountain, I’m trying to guide there first to get a first approximation and look afterwards for a good window. I became father last year so I decided to prolong Denali a year, I looking forward for 2018. This year I’m going to Elbrus.
[Advendure]: We knew that your dream was the speed accent on all the Seven Summits. Is this still your dream goal?
[K. Egloff]: Yes and on the same time the highest summit of every Anden Country so in total 7 + 7 Summits in FKT
[Advendure]: How do you feel when on a FKT you practically run alone with only the clock as your “opponent”? How tough is to stay focused and intent on your goal?
[K. Egloff]: It’s amazing, you get to know the mountain weeks or months before, every corner, ask the mountain to open its doors and go for it, a challenge between yourself and the clock with all the respect of the mountain. You have to listen to your body and have always a strategy.
[Advendure]: So…FKT or racing? What is it that excites you the most?
[K. Egloff]: FKT is definitely my thing and use races to train for them
[Advendure]: If we are not wrong, you have not much participation on high-profile international races. Are you thinking of getting more involved in the international running scene in the future?
[K. Egloff]: Not at all, races you have in any corner of the world, even in South America you have amazing races in the Andes but racing is not my priority. I want to be the best version of Karl Egloff completing my project with Everest in 2021 or 2022 and race what I need to get better, some races I choose to get to know the world too as life is short.
[Advendure]: Which are your main goals for this year?
[K. Egloff]: Elbrus 5642mtrs and Ojos del Salado in Chile 6893mtrs
[Advendure]: Which is your ideal racing distance in which you could compete in top level? Would you race in a Ultra-Trail race?
[K. Egloff]: Ultras are not my thing and I don’t want to start changing my mind as it is very important to keep fast in extreme altitude slopes and distances so its complete another preparation. The distance I train for is less than 30km with a lot of altitude slope.
[Advendure]: Your main income source is your mountain guiding business, so you are far than being characterized as a “professional athlete”. Despite that, you surely need help so that to achieve your goals, whether they are FKT breaking records or racing all over the world. Who are the people or the companies that help you the most?
[K. Egloff]: Today I can live from sports, a dream of every athlete but I don’t do it as I know that in a few years its over and if you don’t build your own thing your will have a lot of trouble so I never stopped guiding. I know that further on the most demanding projects like Everest I will probably need a lot of time to train and gain altitude and this is why I’m working hard too.
My main sponsors are Movistar and Mammut.
[Advendure]: Thank you very much for the interview, we are looking forward to meet you at Metsovo!
[K. Egloff]: Thanks to you, im looking forward to be there!