For the second year in a row, France’s François D’Haene and Nathalie Mauclair dominated the men’s and women’s races, emerging as champions of the 2014 Diagonale des Fous on Réunion Island.
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2014 Diagonale des Fous Men’s Race
From pretty much the start to the finish–and just like his other 2014 performances at the Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji and Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc–François D’Haene led with an unmistakable, unbeatable quiet confidence. For the race’s first 40 kilometers, however, François had lots of company, early pace pushers with whom François seemed content to let run the early show. At each aid station, however, François was there, either right with whomever was leading or on their shoulders. After 40 kilometers, however, those earliest leaders began to lapse back and François emerged as the singular leader. At first his lead was small, but it grew minute by minute at each aid station until there was no one–just he and this crazy race’s course. With arms upstretched and some 24 hours after starting, François crossed the line as the Diagonale des Fous winner for the second year in a row.
This year’s second-place finisher, Frenchman Ludovic Pommeret, surprised us with a standout performance. At just 90 minutes back of one of our sport’s best 100-mile runners in a race as long as this one, Ludovic proved himself as competitive among the world’s best. A conservative start had Ludovic out of the top 25 for the first kilometers and not into the men’s top 10 until around 30 kilometers into the race. From there, it was hold steady, full steam ahead for Ludovic. Kilometer by kilometer, Ludovic moved up through the field until 133 kilometers in where he assumed his second place. Ludovic has been a strong mountain runner in Europe for quite some time, but this result was far and away his best performance.
Another standout run on the day was from France’s Aurelien Collet in his third-place finish. Aggressive is the best descriptor for his run. It was as if he knew exactly what he wanted from the get go–a podium spot–and he fought for it from start to finish. His statistics from the race read like a course in consistency. He basically ran in second, third, or fourth place from just a couple kilometers in through the finish.
Arelien’s finish was not without drama, however, because fourth place’s Gediminus Grinius, of Lithuania, was hot on his heels in the final seven or so kilometers. This year will finish as a huge one for Gediminus, as it includes a fifth place at UTMB and a fourth place here. What will 2015 bring for him.
Javi Dominguez, Patrick Bohard, Stefano Ruzza, Kenichi Yamamoto, Guy Noel Lebon, and Jason Schlarb finished fifth through 10th places.
2014 Diagonale des Fous Men’s Results
- François D’Haene (Salomon) – 24:25:02
- Ludovic Pommeret (Hoka One One) – 25:55:26
- Aurelien Collet (Hoka One One) – 27:24:53
- Gediminus Grinius (Inov-8) – 27:25:13
- Javier Dominguez (Vibram) – 28:23:43
- Patrick Bohard (Hoka) – 28:51:25
- Stefano Ruzza (Vibram) – 29:00:28
- Kenichi Yamamoto – 29:04:57
- Guy Noel Lebon – 29:19:57
- Jason Schlarb (Altra) – 29:28:30
2014 Diagonale des Fous Women’s Race
What can we really say about Nathalie Mauclair’s race? She full on schooled the women’s competition, the course, and all but 17 of the men’s competitors, too. Just like François but with nary a challenge from the women’s field at any point in the race, Nathalie led from start to finish. She has fully skyrocketed onto the world ultrarunning scene in the last 18 months, and her second Diagonale des Fous victory in a row adds fuel to her rocket’s fire.
The race for second- and third-place women was an exciting one. Though there were other women in the mix for the balance of the podium in the race’s first two thirds, it was Juliette Blanchet and Uxue Fraile who stayed strong as others dropped back. The pair played leapfrog in the race’s final third: Juliette overtook Uxue with about 40 kilometers to go; Juliette put some minutes on Uxue in the next 20 kilometers; Uxue made a late run to gain back those lost minutes in the final 20k; and the pair sprinted to the finish. In the end, it was Juliette who held off a fighting Uxue in that final sprint, crossing the finish eight seconds ahead.
Christine Benard and Mélanie Rousset finished fourth and fifth, while Alexandra Clain, Denise Zimmerman, Helene Haegel, Sophie Blard, and Bertille Faure finished out the second half of the women’s top 10.
2014 Diagonale des Fous Women’s Results
- Nathalie Mauclair (La Fuma) – 31:27:28
- Juliette Blanchet – 34:17:54
- Uxue Fraile (Vibram) – 34:18:02
- Christine Benard (Team Trail Sport) – 35:45:21
- Mélanie Rousset (Team Running Conseil) – 36:28:49
- Alexandra Clain (Team Decathalon Réunion) – 37:04:40
- Denise Zimmerman (Salomon) – 39:23:06
- Helene Haegel – 39:31:26
- Sophie Blard – 39:57:01
- Bertille Faure – 40:20:45