Among a very strong international field at the 2015 IAU Trail World Championships, France’s Sylvain Court (post-race interview) and Nathalie Mauclair (post-race interview) emerged victorious, and aided their respective men’s and women’s Team France to team gold medals. Read on to hear how the rest of the race played out.
In addition to this article, you can find our full play-by-play of the race as well as a collection of our pre-race interviews and previews on our IAU Trail World Championships live-coverage page.
As usual, we’ll be updating this article with additional results as well as links to IAU Trail World Championships-related articles, photo galleries, and race reports. Check back!
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2015 IAU Trail World Championships Men’s Race
One of the things I love best about the increasing competitiveness of trail and ultrarunning is the dynamicity at the front of races, and today was a shining example of the pointy end of the field changing hands time and again. Winner Sylvain Court (post-race interview), of France, was always there, either in the lead or within spitting distance of whomever was leading for most of the race. Near the top of the first climb, at 16k into the race, he was running right around third position. Over and over when we saw Sylvain, he was hanging out ‘right there’ and occasionally even running in the lead, such as when we saw him at 36k. The final turning point, however, didn’t come until the final climb, after 71k. It was there that he finally put distance between he and the last remaining man. He left the 71k refreshment point basically sharing the lead with Luis Alberto Hernando, but put almost 2.5 minutes on him in 8.5 kilometers of climbing, a gap he would perfectly maintain to the finish line.
To tell the truth, it’s a little strange to see Luis Alberto Hernando (post-race interview) do anything but win. However, second place Luis Alberto, of Spain, told us earlier in the week that his legs were still a bit fatigued from his Transvulcania Ultramarathon win three weeks ago. This seemed the case on race day, in that Luis was never super peppy and he lacked that that raw, animalian edge we’ve come to recognize in him. Still, he was a force to be reckoned with all day. Just like Sylvain, Luis Alberto lingered in the early hours, taking turns leading and almost leading with several other runners. At about the marathon mark, he lapsed to sixth position and about 2.5 minutes back. I began to wonder if he was going to fade. The wondering was unnecessary, however, because just 8k later, he’d assumed second position. When we saw him at 65k and 71k, he was leading by a minute margin and few-second margin, respectively. Here it seemed he was trying to make a break, but it didn’t stick. When we next saw Luis Alberto at 79.5k, at the top of the last climb, he’d fallen into second position, where he would stay.
France’s Patrick Bringer (post-race interview) really brought it with his third-place finish. In the early part of the race, Patrick ran outside of the men’s top 10, lingering between 10th and 13th places. It wasn’t until after halfway that he started plowing his way through the field. At 50k, he’d moved into seventh and it looked like he was toying with the tough climb at Col de la Forclaz, like it was an easy game for him. Then, at the top of the next climb, at 58k, Patrick was in fourth. He assumed third position after 71k when Sebastien Spehler, who had been running in front of him, dropped from the race.
Fourth place Tom Owens, of Great Britain, was the move-up man, much like Patrick Bringer. Tom and Patrick were running a similar pace for the first half of the race, just outside the top 10. In the race’s second half, Tom slowly clawed his way forward in the pack, saying at the finish that this was a result of him not feeling too great early on, and feeling better and better as the race progressed. During the final climb between 71k and 79.5k, Tom found and stuck to fourth place.
France’s Ludovic Pommeret employed the same strategy as Patrick and Tom to bring home his fifth place, though he got aggressive about starting to move up positions earlier in the race, maybe just a third of the way in.
The United States’s Alex Nichols (pre-race interview) gets my hat tip for the most well-played race. What do you think of this? Forty-first place at 8k, 29th place at 18k, 21st place at 33k, 17th at 44k, 12th at 50k, 10th at 58k, still 10th at 71k, then–wait for it–sixth at 79.5k, before finishing sixth overall. Dude, that’s a heckuva race.
France’s Nicolas Martin was seventh, France’s Xavier Thévenard eighth, Iceland’s Thorbergur Jonsson ninth, and Norway’s Didrik Hermansen 10th.
2015 IAU Trail World Championships Men’s Individual Results
- Sylvain Court (France) — 8:15:38 (post-race interview)
- Luis Alberto Hernando (Spain) — 8:19:06 (post-race interview)
- Patrick Bringer (France) — 8:21:43 (post-race interview)
- Tom Owens (Great Britain) — 8:26:23
- Ludovic Pommeret (France) — 8:33:07
- Alex Nichols (United States) — 8:38:15 (pre-race interview)
- Nicolas Martin (France) — 8:41:01
- Xavier Thévenard (France) — 8:41:45
- Thorbergur Jonsson (Iceland) — 8:47:24
- Didrik Hermansen (Norway) — 8:59:39
2015 IAU Trail World Championships Men’s Team Race and Results
As per IAU rules, teams bringing more than six athletes have to choose the six who are eligible to help score team points before the race. Team France chose to not include Xavier Thévenard, Benoit Cori, and Ludovic Pommeret on their potential scorers’ list. So scoring came from the times of top-three finishers on France’s list of potential scorers, meaning individual winner Sylvain Court (8:15:38), third place Patrick Bringer (8:21:43), and seventh place Nicolas Martin (8:41:01). Despite not being able to count some of their top finishers, the team came out with a large-margin win for the team gold medal.
Early in the race, it was looking as if Team United States might not be in medal contention at all, because Team France and Team Spain were dominating. However, patience pays off and it certainly did for this group. Alex Nichols’s sixth place (8:38:15) was the top American finish, with David Laney’s 12th (9:02:44) and Alex Varner’s (pre-race interview) 18th place (9:21:00) being the balance of the Team USA scorers. Early-race leader Tim Tollefson dropped from the race with a foot injury.
The team bronze medal goes to Team Great Britain, which was led by Tom Owens’s fourth place (8:26:23), Kim Collison’s 20th place (9:22:02), and Lee Kemp’s 27th place (9:37:32).
Team Spain fell out of medal contention after being in the game earlier, due to drops among their front runners; they finished fourth.
- France — 25:18:22
- United States — 27:01:59
- Great Britain — 27:25:57
2015 IAU Trail World Championships Women’s Race
Holy smokes did the French women take the race out hard! From the get go, it was Anne-Lise Rousset, Caroline Chaverot (post-race interview), and Nathalie Mauclair (pre-race and post-race interviews) pushing the up-front pace. By just 8k into the race, the trio had set themselves apart by a minute from the field. Another 10k later, they were 5.5 minutes off the rest of the pack. And, at 27k, the threesome was very close together and eight minutes ahead of all the other women.
From there, the pack splintered. At 36k, Caroline was in the lead by 3.5 minutes, with Nathalie second and Anne-Lise now six minutes back. At 42.5k, it was the same story: Caroline off the front, Nathalie chasing, and Anne-Lise solidly in third. The race would stay this way until the descent between 65k and 71k, where Nathalie ate into all but about 45 seconds of Caroline’s three-minute lead. It was not long after, at the beginning of the last long climb to Mont Baron at 79.5k, in which Nathalie took over and held onto the women’s lead. What a powerhouse she is, and this win makes two in a row for her at the 2013 and 2015 IAU Trail World Championships. (The event his held every two years.) Early leader Anne-Lise would go on to finish fourth.
Spain’s Maite Maiora (post-race interview) ran the first half of the race in fourth place, then wedged her way up into third place when Anne-Lise slowed and she stayed strong. Maite said about 10 days ago that she has a fracture in her tibial plateau from a fall while training, but she started and finished this race. For most of the race, she looked as if she was running normally and without pain, but at the top of the last climb at 79k, she was favoring her injured leg quite heavily. Strong performance aside, I sure hope Maite’s health wasn’t compromised for it.
Count Switzerland’s Andrea Huser among the women who started more slowly and finished strong, running a smart race. Her fifth place was a result of running outside the top 10 until after the marathon mark, running into ninth by 50k, then seventh at 58k, sixth place at 61k, and fifth place at 79.5k.
Sixth place, Spain’s Uxue Fraile (pre-race interview), also ran a smart race. She, too, was outside the women’s top 10, until she snuck her way in by the 50k point and just kept moving up in places. France’s Maud Gobert, who was the 2011 IAU Trail World Champion, finished seventh, Sweden’s Mimmi Kotka eighth, the Czech Republic’s Anna Strakova ninth, and Spain’s Teresa Nimes 10th.
Americans Cassie Scallon, Krissy Moehl, and Amy Rusiecki finished respectively in 12th, 20th, and 48th.
2015 IAU Trail World Championships Women’s Individual Results
- Nathalie Mauclair (France) — 9:30:59 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Caroline Chaverot (France) — 9:33:21 (post-race interview)
- Maite Maiora (Spain) — 9:39:36 (post-race interview)
- Anne-Lise Rousset (France) — 10:05:19
- Andrea Huser (Switzerland) — 10:20:31
- Uxue Fraile (Spain) — 10:25:25 (pre-race interview)
- Maud Gobert (France) — 10:33:25
- Mimmi Kotka (Sweden) — 10:46:09
- Anna Strakova (Czech Republic) — 10:46:56
- Teresa Nimes (Spain) — 10:55:46
2015 IAU Trail World Championships Women’s Team Race and Results
As in the men’s race, Team France was the runaway victor in the women’s team race. Also like the men’s French team, several top-finishing women were left off the list of potential scorers due to IAU rules which required teams to choose six potentially scoring women ahead of the race. This meant that the scores of Juliette Benedicto, Anne-Lise Rousset, and Sylvaine Cussot would not count toward the team performance. So the scoring came from Nathalie Mauclair’s win (9:30:59), Caroline Chaverot’s second place (9:33:21), and Maud Gobert’s seventh place (10:33:25). Again like the men’s team, despite not being able to count one of their top finishers, Team France won team gold without challenge.
As expected, women’s Team Spain competed well, with Maite Maiora’s third place (9:39:36), Uxue Fraile’s sixth place (10:25:25), and Teresa Nimes’s 10th place (10:55:46) leading them to a team silver medal.
With Team Italy, it seems that conservative running paid off. They finished with a team bronze medal courtesy of Lisa Borzani’s 11th place (10:59:02), Sonia Glarey’s 13th place (11:01:38), and Virginia Oliveri’s 29th place (11:38:56).
- France — 29:37:45
- Spain — 31:00:47
- Italy — 33:39:36
Articles, Race Reports, and More
Articles and Photo Galleries
- Team USA’s race-week photo album
- Alex Nichols, sixth man
- David Laney, 12th man
- Alex Varner, 18th man
- Krissy Moehl, 20th woman
A big thank you to our on-course helpers and translators, Mauri Pagliacci, Kirsten Kortebein, Jamie Wentworth, Rodrigo Lizama, and Anne-Marie Dunhill. Merci beaucoup, we can’t do this without the community!