Maud Gobert, a long-time top trail runner from France, is no stranger to the Grand Trail des Templiers, having won it in 2009 and 2011. In the following interview, Maud talks about how well she knows Les Templiers, why 40 to 80 kilometers is her favorite distance to race, and how a runner should approach her or his first run at Les Templiers.
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Maud Gobert Pre-2014 Les Templiers Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Maud Gobert before the 2014 Grand Trail des Templiers. How are you, Maude?
Maud Gobert: I’m okay.
iRunFar: You’ve had a very good season so far. You had a good run at Trail du Ventoux and Mont Blanc 80k and Transvulcania. Where else have you run this year?
Gobert: I began Transvulcania, but I wasn’t very good because it was the first race of my season. So it was very difficult for me because I don’t like when the weather is very hot. It’s difficult for me because I don’t have any time to stay in this island to prepare. So now this season is different than the last season because the last season I had a lot of pain in my knees so I took a break. I just raced Transvulcania and not a lot of races. This year, yes, I began with Transvulcania, Trail du Ventoux before, Mont Blanc like you say, TDS—but I had a problem with my stomach and with the sun, so I stopped. Now, I’m okay. For tomorrow, I don’t know… I’m not about to say if I’m good or bad. I know I trained a lot with good training. This race is long. You have two parts. The one part is flat. One part is up at the end. It’s very difficult because you change a lot the rhythm of running. I will see. I don’t know.
iRunFar: You know how to prepare for this race though.
Gobert: Yes. I’m prepared because I know this race. I know the name of every road. I know all the roads.
iRunFar: So you’ve run this race twice? Two times you’ve run this race?
Gobert: Six times.
iRunFar: Six times?
Gobert: Four times here because before it was another part (place).
iRunFar: You’ve won this race.
Gobert: I won in 2011 and 2009.
iRunFar: You were fourth last year or two years ago?
Gobert: Two years ago. Last year I didn’t race.
iRunFar: You’re familiar with the course. You know how to run strong here and how to win here. Does that give you some confidence going into the race?
Gobert: If I take part in this race, it’s because I want to give the best of my running, the best that I’m trained for. I don’t know the other women who will take part in this race. I know they’re practiced in marathon, but it’s very different than the marathon in this race. I don’t know who is able to win tomorrow.
iRunFar: Do you think that the distance around 80k is maybe your best distance? You won the IAU Trail [World] Championships a few years ago, and you did well at The North Face a few years ago. This is just under 80k. Do you think that’s your…?
Gobert: My favorite distance?
Gobert: My favorite distance is between 40 and 80k, so it’s in my favorite distance. More is more difficult for me. I’m not prepared to run more. I’m able to run more, but I’m not prepared for that.
iRunFar: What brings you back to Les Templiers again? You’ve been here so many times.
Gobert: Because Adidas is a partner, so it’s my partner as a sponsor. It’s very important for me to do this race. The trail in France became here.
iRunFar: This is the start… this is like the Western States of…
Gobert: Corrine Favre won, all the…
iRunFar: It’s the history.
Gobert: It’s a monument. I don’t know what to say… monument?
iRunFar: Yeah, because it’s the historic place.
Gobert: It’s like the monument. This event is like the Tower Eiffel for the trail. Yes. Like UTMB, you have Templiers—it’s not the same. You have UTMB events, and you have Templiers events. In France, it’s the two best events I feel.
iRunFar: I know you run in races like Transvulcania and Mont Blanc where it’s iconic and mountains. Do you also enjoy running this where it’s not big mountains, but it’s different.
Gobert: No, it’s not big mountains but you have uphill, downhill, two very different landscapes. It’s a natural park. It’s beautiful. It’s not very technical, but in this race I find a lot of sorts of landscapes. I like to go fast when it’s flat, uphill, downhill. It’s very difficult for me and everyone else because you go up, you go down, flat, up, down, flat, and after you have a long flat, and then you go down more until finish, up, before when you arrive. So it’s not an easy race.
iRunFar: Would you have any advice for somebody running Grand Trail des Templiers for the first time?
Gobert: Take your time. Don’t start too fast. If you take your time, I think you’ll finish very well.
iRunFar: Thank you and good luck, Maud.
Gobert: Thank you.