Another great women’s field will grace the trails around Millau, France this weekend at the Grand Trail des Templiers. As they did last year, the event has organized a France versus the World team competition. This year, a South African women’s squad will join teams from France, the U.S., and Europe. Among the highlights of the race we’ll be seeing Ellie Greenwood returning to a high-level ultramarathon for the first time since last November.
You guessed it, iRunFar will be heading to France to bring you pre- and post-race interviews with top competitors as well as play-by-play of the event. The race departs Millau at 5:15 a.m. local time on Sunday, October 25th, which is 10:15 p.m. MDT Saturday night in the States.
For more on the race, you can check out our men’s preview.
Head of the Race
Ellie Greenwood (pre-race interview) is talented enough and has been running ultras long enough that she’ll be in the mix to win Les Templiers. She’s been training hard and even ran a 10k PR in recent weeks. Hopefully, she’s heard enough about the course to get some steep training in to compliment the speedier sections of the course. Ellie will be running as part of Team Europe. [Update October 20: We forgotten Ellie’d finished six at Comrades in May.]
After watching her dominantly win at the UltraVasan 90k in August (interview), I’m tempted to make Switzerland’s Jasmin Nunige the women’s favorite this weekend, but she finished out of the top 10 (11th) at last year’s Les Templiers. As a reminder, Jasmin has won the Swiss Alpine Marathon five times, including this year.
Anne-Lise Rousset could lead the French delegation this weekend. She was fourth at the IAU Trail World Championships in May and second at this year’s French Trail National Championships on a 60k course. Anne-Lise won the CCC, a UTMB sister race, last year.
While Rousset has been running well, she’ll surely be challenged by France’s much-experienced Maud Gobert. Gobert has twice won Les Templiers (2009 and 2011) and placed fourth last year. She ran to seventh place at this year’s IAU Trail World Championships and was the French Trail National Champion (60k), as well, beating Rousset in the latter race.
Any of the American women could make a run at a top-five position, but Cassie Scallon (pre-race interview) could lead the bunch. She’s killer around the 50-mile distance and has been running well again this year with a second at the highly competitive Lake Sonoma 50 Mile (interview), a win at the Squamish 50 Mile in August, and a third-place finish at the Chuckanut 50k this spring. Cassie was 10th at Les Templiers last year.
The Next Bunch
Hillary Allen comes at Les Templiers from the more mountainous side of things. She won the Speedgoat 50k back in July and took second at The Rut 50k (interview) last month. She’ll crush the steeper sections of this weekend’s race, but can she hang with the likes of Nunige, Greenwood, and Scallon on the flat and fast sections?
Colorado’s Ashley Erba has burst onto the ultrarunning scene this year. A former high-school track star, she’s got plenty of speed on the flats and showed her stuff on the steeps when she recently won the Flagstaff Skyrace, a 55k event in Arizona. Earlier in the year, she won the Moab Red Hot 55k and took third at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile (interview) behind Stephanie Howe and Cassie Scallon.
France’s Aurelia Truel was ninth at last year’s Les Templiers. She’s got plenty of fond memories from the course as she’s taken third at Templiers in both 2010 and 2013, among her numerous finishes at the event. After taking second at the IAU Trail World Championships in 2013, she was 17th at this year’s version of the race in Annecy.
Nicole Studer has crushed her competition in Texas for a few years now, more or less winning everything she enters. That includes winning the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile in a American trail 100-mile record of 14:22 (interview) back in February. Studer had her best non-Texas performance in June, when she took sixth at the Western States 100. More recently, she was 13th at UTMB.
After a tremendous 2014 in which she won the Red Hot Moab 55k, White River 50 Mile, and Crystal Mountain Skymarathon as well as placing second at the Chuckanut 50k, fourth at Lake Sonoma, and sixth at Transvulcania, we’ve not heard much from Jodee Adams-Moore in 2015. In fact, she’s been quiet on the racing front since she dropped from Les Templiers last year. Jodee did race the Crystal Mountain Skymarathon in September, where she took fourth.
As far as we know, Sweden’s Ida Nilsson has only run two ultras, both this year. The more notable one was the UltraVasan 90k, where she finished second behind Jasmin Nunige. Previously, Ida competed internationally in the 3,000m steeplechase. A race like Les Templiers could favor a steeplechaser’s combination of speed and strength.
Malika Coutant of France spends most of her time running shorter trail races with much success. However, in her lone effort of much longer than 50k, she was second at Les Templiers in 2013. Curiously, Malika will be running for Team Europe rather than France.
Landie Greyling of South Africa has plenty of wins in her home country including the 105k Salomon Skyrun in both 2012 and 2014 and the Otter Trail Run last year. Internationally, she was ninth at the 2013 IAU Trail World Championships, 10th at last year’s Zegama Marathon, and first at this year’s 75k Buffalo Stampede Ultra SkyMarathon.
France’s Sarah Vieuille has plenty of ultra wins at home, while she placed fourth at the French Trail National Championships (60k) in both 2014 and 2015. In her lone ultramarathon against world-class competition, she was 14th at the IAU Trail World Championships earlier this year.
Others in the Team Competition
- Sissi Cussot — 32nd 2015 IAU Trail World Championships; 4th 2014 CCC; 6th 2014 French Trail Championships
Team South Africa
We don’t really have a good measure of how the women on the South African squad match up against their peers. Here’s who else is on the team and what we know about them. Please shed more light on these ladies and their background in the comment section!
- Nicky Booyens
- Susan Don-Wauchope — 2nd (to Nicolette Griffioen) 2015 South African Trail Ultramarathon National Championships; 10th 2014 Lavaredo Ultra Trail; 14th 2013 IAU Trail World Championships
- Nicolette Griffioen — 2015 South African Trail Ultramarathon National Champion; 24th 2015 IAU Trail World Championships; 2nd 2014 Otter Trail Run
- Tracy Zunckel — 2013 South African Trail Ultramarathon National Champion; 28th 2013 IAU Trail World Championships
Other Fast Runners Not in the Team Competition
- Christine Denis Billet (France) — 1st 2014 Endurance Trail des Templiers (100k sister race); 5th 2014 French Trail Championships
- Virginie Govignon (Andorra) — 7th 2013 Les Templiers; 12th 2014 Les Templiers; 1st 2011 CCC
- Silvie Hascoët (France) — Lots of wins at French races; 18th 2013 Les Templiers
- Christiane Lacombe (France) — 10th 2014 French Trail Championships; 12th 2012 Les Templiers
- Sandra Martin (France) 5th 2013 Les Templiers; 4th 2011 Les Templiers; 7th 2009, 2010, & 2012 Les Templiers
- Manikala Rai (Nepal) — 31st 2015 IAU Trail World Championships; 7th 2014 French Trail Championships; 1st 2013 TNF 100k-Hong Kong
- Annabelle Souriau (France) — 2nd 2014 Eco-Trail Paris 80k
Call for Comments
- Who’s going to take the women’s win at Les Templiers this year?
- Which team will go home with the victory?
- Who’s we missed in our preview or who’ve we included who you know won’t be running? Do tell!