Surprising even himself, Benoit Cori won last year’s Les Templiers against an international-level field. He’s back to defend his title this year and feels even stronger. In the following interview, Benoit talks about his background in sports, how his year has gone, and what you can expect from him this weekend.
Thanks to Marie from Trails Endurance for translating!
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Benoit Cori Pre-2015 Les Templiers Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Benoit Cori before the 2015 Les Templiers. How are you?
Benoit Cori: Fine. Very fine.
iRunFar: You won this race last year. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience in that race?
Cori: Last year I came to discover this event for the first time at this level at this race. I gave everything. I was very surprised to be first, and I won. It’s the first important step to my short career that is just beginning.
iRunFar: So you surprised yourself as well?
Cori: Yes, I was very surprised. I didn’t expect to be at this level at this race.
iRunFar: You’ve previously had some good results like at SainteLyon the year before?
Cori: Yes, the SainteLyon was a national race, so it was quite a good result, but Les Templiers is an international race, so winning Les Templiers was something better for me.
iRunFar: How long have you been doing endurance sports or running?
Cori: I’ve been training seriously for running for five years.
iRunFar: Do you have history with athletics or with sport before that?
Cori: A lot of soccer, tennis, swimming, and a lot of surf because I live in Basque Country in France where there’s a lot of surf. I play American football as well.
iRunFar: What brought you to running from all those sports? Why running?
Cori: When I do exercise, I’m looking for being exhausted at the end of the sport sessions. When I was doing a soccer game, it was good but at the end it was not enough. It’s only with running I’m able to feel this sensation.
iRunFar: How did you find trail running specifically?
Cori: I live in the Basque Country which is by the mountains. I’d been road running, but then you go by the mountains and you like it and enjoy it. So you do some races in the mountains around. That’s the reason why I chose to go for trail running.
iRunFar: You’ve had some good results this year as well. You were second at the French National Championship last month?
Cori: Yes, I was very surprised again. I was very surprised by my results at the French championship because I was not really ready with my training. Now I’m ready. I’ve been practicing for one more month, so hopefully it’s going to be as good surprise as it’s been before. We will see.
iRunFar: One year ago could you have imagined running in the world championships like you did in May?
Cori: No, no, no, not at all. I’m 33 years old, so it’s kind of surprising to be at this level. I’m enjoying everything. I’m very glad to be able to run at this level. I’m very lucky to be able to enjoy that, so I’m trying to… my career is right now at 33 years old, so I have to do the results.
iRunFar: It was quite an exciting experience, I’d guess, for you in May with the French national team winning the championship in dominant fashion.
Cori: It was very tough for me. It was a nice experience, but it was one of my hardest races. The team with the French jersey—it was unbelievable, it’s incredible. It’s very, very nice memories.
iRunFar: What a great year. Here you are back at Les Templiers. Do you think you’re as strong as last year?
Cori: Yes, I think I am even if a little bit better. If I look at my training, I should be better than last year.
iRunFar: Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised if you win again this year?
Cori: I’m expected. I’m in shape, but he race is long. Yes, indeed, I am expected, but everything can happen in a race, so we will see.
iRunFar: You have made one change in your preparation before last year. Last year before Les Templiers, you slept in your car. This year you have a little cabin.
Cori: Yes, I am very lucky. Last year I slept in my car. This year I had the privilege from my results of being invited by the organization to have this accommodation. I’m very lucky. I’m very thankful to the organization because it allows me to be in better condition. It’s very nice.
iRunFar: And be warmer?
Cori: Yes, in the morning especially.
iRunFar: Thank you. Good luck.
Cori: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: One bonus question for you. A few times in the interview you mentioned being from Basque Country. Is being Basque an important part of your identity?
Cori: I wasn’t born in the Basque Country because I’ve been adopted by the Basque people and the Basque community when I arrived. I’m very proud to be an ambassador of the French Basque Country because you have a lot of trail runners from Basque Spain but not from the Basque French parts. I’m very glad to be able to speak about this very beautiful part of France.
iRunFar: Thank you.