Though France’s François D’Haene and Catalonia’s Núria Picas both emerged victorious from the 2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji, each did so via two very differently played races. Below we have the full story on how the men’s and women’s races went down.
You can also find our full play-by-play of the race as well as a collection of our pre-race interviews and preview on our 2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji Live Coverage page.
As usual, we’ll be updating this article with additional results as well as links to Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji-related articles, photo galleries, and race reports. Check back!
2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji Men’s Race
Let’s just put it this way, François D’Haene (pre-race and post-race interviews) manhandled things from the word “Go!” Quite literally, he was the first man down the starting chute, and him flying off along the shore of Lake Kawaguchiko was simply foreshadowing his whole race. François ran with and pretty much set the leaders’ pace for the race’s first half (except for a short section just before the 56k aid station where he went off course), and then he just plain owned uncontested the race’s second half.
Early in the race, François had all kinds of company. At the first aid station at 18k, there was an early rabbit, Christophe Le Saux, who must have just been having a little fun because he was fresh off finishing the Marathon des Sables only two weeks ago and he ultimately finished outside the top 10, Iker Karrera, who was a favorite until knee pain handicapped him so much he had to withdraw at 80.5k, Thomas Lorblanchet (pre-race interview), another favorite who was taken out by the super challenging Tenshi Mountains after 100k, Fabrice Armand, who raced hard before lapsing to finish far back in the pack, and Emmanuel Gault, another eventual victim of the challenging Tenshis.
By the second aid station at 33k, François had taken full control, leading Iker as well as a trail of men behind them. We saw the lead men again at about 37k and the situation was the same: François blasting down a big hill with Iker on his tail and a strung-out pack within a few minutes. At the 56k aid station, François rolled in with Emmanuel after having just regained the lead following his time off trail.
By 66k, the theme of the second half of François’s race started to emerge. There, he’d created a three-minute break from everyone else, a lead he would continue to grow for the next several aid stations. At 104k, his lead was about 30 minutes, and then by 123k, it had grown to over an hour. François successfully maintained that hour-plus buffer through the finish line.
I think we’ve all grasped Ryan Sandes’s (post-race interview) racing M.O. for when he runs against a big field: early conservation. That is, conserving himself in the first half of races so that he can sustain or even push later. His most recent example was his come-from-behind win of the 2014 Transgrancanaria (post-race interview) and now this race. Early on, Ryan let himself fall up to about four minutes behind the leaders, seemingly watching their antics from a more comfortable position. Today Ryan told us that his legs were a little tired after his recent Drakensberg Grand Traverse FKT (post-record interview), so perhaps his plan was to just maintain if others failed? In any case, Ryan found himself in second late in the race, a position he was able to maintain despite those Drakensberg legs.
Third place Mike Foote (pre-race and post-race interviews) told us he started this race off on the wrong foot. Not intentionally so, he just felt poorly early on. At only 56k in, his crew told us Mike was considering dropping and, to be frank, when we saw him enter that aid station, we weren’t sure he was going to leave. But the same thing happened to Mike at last year’s UTMB, and so, finding himself in familiar territory, Mike forged on, resurrected himself, and carved a super solid spot on the podium.
We don’t know much about fourth place Antoine Guillon, but we can tell you how much we’d like to hang out with him! Always, always, he had the friendliest of expressions on his face. And he almost giggled his way into and out of aid stations. Antoine spent most of the day in the top-10 men.
Fifth place Lionel Travel was a fun mystery to observe. Several times he popped on and off our radars, rolling through aid stations either within the top 10 or just outside of it. By the end of the Tenshi Mountains traverse, however, Lionel had moved into the middle of the top 10 where he would stay.
Sixth place Brendan Davies ran a smart race, seemingly ‘seeding’ himself into the middle of the top 10 early, and then mostly keeping that spot all day. Two Japanese runners, Tetsuaki Nomoto and Keita Kobayashi, finished seventh and eighth by running conservative early and then moving into the top 10 when others started to slow. Poland’s Piotr Hercog also flirted with the back of the top 10 early before cementing himself in ninth place during the race’s final 60k. Nick Clark (pre-race interview) ran fairly hard early, occupying as high as fifth place for an extended spell. The Tenshi Mountains got him, too, causing him to slow to the 10th position.
Men’s Results – 2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji
- François D’Haene (Salomon) — 19:09:13 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Ryan Sandes (Salomon) — 20:18:59
- Mike Foote (The North Face) — 20:54:16 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Antoine Guillon (WAA) — 21:29:12
- Lionel Trivel (Hoka One One) — 21:32:50
- Brendan Davies (Inov-8) — 21:53:57 (post-race interview)
- Tetsuaki Nomoto — 22:19:52
- Keita Kobayashi — 22:23:10
- Piotr Hercog (Salomon) — 22:44:25
- Nick Clark (Altra) — 23:10:43 (pre-race interview)
2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji Women’s Race
Nathalie Mauclair (pre-race interview) started this race at an impossible pace. It was a pace that seemed sustainable for a hilly 50k, not even close to a 100 miler with big vert. It appeared that she was having an absolute blast flying through the first half of the course, even if she was making a tactical error. Before the 80.5k aid station, she slowed dramatically, a slow screech-to-a-halt probably commanded by pace-induced fatigue. She ultimately withdraw due to foot pain some 40k later, but that was after her pace slowed significantly.
Núria Picas (pre-race and post-race interviews) is relatively new to 100-mile races (2013 UTMB and now 2014 UTMF) but that doesn’t seem to prevent her from being wise during them. Núria is a pretty competitive woman given her meteoric rise to kicking most everyone’s butt in trail races all over the globe, so I imagine it must have been difficult to let Nathalie get so far off the front in this race. No matter, Núria’s patient, conservative start paid off and she found her way to the lead by about the race’s midpoint and by simply running her own race. Very much like her win at the 2014 Transgrancanaria a couple months ago (post-race interview), Núria gained only a 20-ish minute lead over the rest of the women’s field which she sustained through the finish. That’s just enough time, we imagine, for her to feel comfortable.
Fernanda Maciel (post-race interview), the Brazilian living in Spain, also raced super smart. She ran in third position for the race’s first half and then slipped into second when Nathalie fell behind. From the outside looking in at least, it didn’t seem like Fernanda ever faltered or hit a difficult-to-surmount patch. She just rolled along all day (and night, and day).
The women’s race in whole was a real odd one, with a good chunk of the women’s field absolutely blowing up and either finishing off the lead or not finishing at all. For instance, race favorites Francesca Canepa and Nathalie Mauclair withdrew. But where some falter, others manage to thrive, and such was the case for Maria Semerjian (post-race interview). Though she was in ninth place at 18k and 33k, she steadily moved her way up into her third-place position by the final aid station. Nerea Martinez ran right around fifth position in the first half of the race, then slipped up into third position. She was, however, ousted before the last aid station by Maria, and she went on to finish as fourth woman. Manu Vilaseca looked very strong each time we saw her, running in the back half of the top 10. She rounded out the women’s top five.
Luciana Moretti, Shona Stephenson, Yukari Nishida, Kaori Niwa, and Kiyomi Kuroda rounded out the top-10 women.
Women’s Results – 2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji
- Núria Picas (BUFF) — 23:27:34 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Fernanda Maciel (The North Face) — 23:46:24 (post-race interview)
- Maria Semerjian — 27:16:13 (post-race interview)
- Nerea Martinez (Salomon) — 28:05:07
- Manu Vilaseca (The North Face) — 28:21:46
- Luciana Moretti — 28:43:41
- Shona Stephenson (Inov-8) — 29:47:32
- Yukari Nishida — 29:49:39
- Kaori Niwa — 30:46:19
- Kiyomi Kuroda — 31:26:46
2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji Articles, Race Reports, and More
Articles and Photo Galleries
- Lots of in-race video clips on The North Face Japan’s YouTube channel
- Short video from the UTMB folks on Daily Motion
- All of DogorCaravan’s UTMF coverage (text in Japanese, interviews in English with Japanese subtitles)
- Sixty-second video of Nick Clark’s race by Japanese filmmaker 60Seconds
- Get Ready For’s video episode titled ‘Japanese Spirit’
- Buff team recap video
- Fernanda Maciel – 2nd woman (in Portuguese)
- Nerea Martinez – 4th woman (in Spanish)
- Brendan Davies – 6th man
- Joe Grant – 13th man (in a tie)
- Gary Robbins – DNF due to injury
Our race coverage was brought to you with the assistance of Koichi Iwasa of Dogsorcaravan.com, Tomokazu Ihara, and Yuta Yamato. Thank you!