KUNDASANG, Oct 25 (Bernama) -- Spaniard Kilian Jornet Burgada emerged the winner in the 23rd Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon today, a win that also earned him the men's open trophy for the 2009 Skyrunner World Series.
Burgada retains his title as the world champion in skyrunning when he clocked in two hours, 40 minutes and 41 seconds, beating Japan's Toru Miyahara who clocked 2 hours 45 minutes and 57 seconds.
The 21-year-old university student also won a gold pendant for being the first to reach the summit in the 21km race.
His best Climbathon so far was finishing second in 2006.
Burgada who clinched the Climbathon title in 2007, said he did not expect to win this one as he thought he would not have sufficient time to recuperate from the 218km California Tahoe Rim Trail long race last month, which he also won.
He said that the despite the shorter distance, the Climbathon was the most challenging of all the seven races in the series because of the steep gradient.
Toru, who also finished second in the Climbathon last year, said he was satisfied with his performance as he clocked faster this year.
"Compared to last year, I was one minute late when I reach the summit, but I was four minutes faster going down," the 26-year-old soldier said through an interpreter.
It was a challenging feat for Mius, 39, as he suffered a minor injury on his right leg when he fell during the descent, about 4.5km from the finishing point.
"I fell because I wanted to be faster, I was afraid that other runners will overtake me. But I'm glad I managed to push myself to do my best," said the Ranau farmer who has participated in the race for several times since 2000.
Burgada bagged USD4,500 (USD1=RM3.38), while Toru and Mius earned USD4,000 and USD3500 respectively.
The Climbathon is the final race of the 2009 Skyrunner World Series, which consists of seven races with earlier ones being held in Costa Rica, Spain, Andorra, Italy, the United States and the United Kingdom.