François D'Haene targets John Muir Trail record this weekend

Three-time UTMB winner François D'Haene will try to break the record for the 359k John Muir Trail in the USA this Saturday (October 14).

The Frenchman, who beat the legendary Kilian Jornet to win the UTMB in September, will chase the target of 3 days 7 hours and 36 minutes, achieved by American Leon Pantilat in 2014.

The route starts in Whitney Portal, Sierra Nevada, and finishes in The Happy Isles, Yosemite Valley, including 14,630m of ascent. It will feature 10 long climbs and steep downhills.

D'Haene, who this year took part in a ski race as well as winning the 115 km Madeira Island Ultra Trail, 110 km Salomon Gore-Tex Maxi-Race and 61 km Verbier Saint-Bernard trail, said he wanted to try something different.

“I knew that I would long for escapism, liberty, new experiences, and something different from a trail where you share a bib with a lot of people," said the 31-year-old. "This is an opportunity to experience an adventure with my close friends, who will share each and every step of the way the ups and downs, the adventures each other support. I feel the need to push my limits and find new ones. This is an opportunity to test myself for future projects and to see how my body will react after a 300k ascent and 80-hour physical effort."

D'Haene, who will have a support team of five, has been trying to acclimatise to the cold weather expected, especially as the highest altitude will be 4421m. 

The Solomon-sponsored athlete is not sure if he will take breaks. "Discovering what I need in terms of sleep, food and other issues will be fun and will motivate me," he said. "I will have to adapt myself, listen to my body and my friends who will advise me from time to time as I’m not sure that during 80 hours of racing, I will be be able to make the right decisions.''