For the second year in a row, Grand Trail des Templiers will host a France versus the World competition in combination with the 75-kilometer queen race of the Festival des Templiers. Last year’s event featured three squads: France, United States, and “the rest of the world.” This year, the competition has expanded to include men’s teams from South Africa and Japan. Quite simply, the team competition is scored by adding the positions of the top-three runners on each team.
Also for the second year in a row, 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 women’s preview.
2015 Les Templiers Men’s Preview
No fewer than four
five men racing Les Templiers have racked up top-level international victories over the past year and have done so over quite a variety of courses. What’s more, many of them have raced Les Templiers in the past and should be primed for another good run this week.
Let’s start off with defending champ Benoît Cori (pre-race interview). Admittedly, we knew nothing of Benoit prior his win at last year’s Les Templiers. However, he beat a strong field there and won the competitive SainteLyon 75k a year prior. This year, he’s taken second at the 60k French Trail National Championships and 13th at the IAU Trail World Championships in Annecy in May. More recently, he ran to a less stellar 27th at the Ice Trail Tarentaise in July. No matter what fitness he’s in at the moment, we’ll know who he is this year!
France’s Sylvain Court was second to Cori at last year’s Les Templiers. He followed that up by winning the IAU Trail World Championships (interview) in Annecy in May. Just a month prior to last year’s Les Templiers, Court won the French Trail National Championships on a 60k course. He was third at the same event this year. Court has run the Grand Trail des Templiers at least three other times, finishing fourth in 2013 and seventh on two prior occasions.
Taking third at last year’s Les Templiers seems to have kicked off an amazing stretch for the U.S.’s Alex Nichols (pre-race interview). Since then he’s won the Red Hot Moab 55k (in the race’s second-fastest time to date), the Mont Blanc 80k, and the Pikes Peak Marathon, while taking second at Speedgoat 50k and sixth at the IAU Trail World Championships. If Alex still has something in his legs after a long season, there’s no reason he can’t challenge for the win.
Jonas Buud (pre-race interview). Since returning to racing this summer after a long injury layoff, this Swede’s been even more of an unstoppable machine than usual. He absolutely crushed the 90k UltraVasan (interview) in 5:45 in August before finally winning IAU 100k (road) World Championships (interview) in Winschoten, Netherlands a few weeks later. Buud had a rough go at Templiers last year, finishing 10th and almost half an hour off the lead.
A week before the race, Frenchman and UTMB champ Xavier Thevenard decided that he’s not sufficiently recovered from his recent UTMB win (interview) to race Les Templiers. It’s unclear if the French Athletics Federation will designate another runner to compete in his stead.
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While he’s not won a major race this past year, American Jared Hazen has had a breakout year and could challenge for the podium. Since January, he’s racked up third-place finishes that the Bandera 100k, Lake Sonoma 50 Mile (interview), and Western States 100 (interview). In August, he was also sixth at the more mountainous Pikes Peak Marathon. Unless I’m mistaken, this will be Jared’s first race overseas.
France’s Patrick Bringer impressed in placing third at the IAU Trail World Championships (interview) in May. He won the French Trail National Championships on a 60k course this year. He’s previously raced Les Templiers back in 2012, when he took ninth.
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The international teams are made up of five runners each. Here’s the remainder of the three squads discussed so far.
- Nicolas Martin — Back in May, Nicolas was part of the dominant French squad at the IAU Trail World Championships. He finished seventh there. Late in August, he took
secondthird at the UTMB sister race, the CCC. He’s previously taken fourth (2012) and seventh (2013) at Les Templiers, so he’s familiar with what he’s getting into.
- Jared Burdick — New to ultrarunning, Jared took second at the USATF Trail 50-Mile National Championships at the Cayuga Trails 50 Mile earlier this year. He’s run 2:20 for the marathon.
- Peter Maksimow — More commonly seen at shorter trail races, Peter was ninth at the Pikes Peak Ascent last year. In May, Peter won the Greenland Trail 50k in 3:18.
Mario Mendoza — Mendoza beat Burdick to win Cayuga Trails back in May. He was second at last November’s USATF Trail Marathon National Championships in Moab. Last month, he finished his longest race to date, placing second at the UROC 100k.[Oct 22 Update: Due to a travel issue, Mario Mendoza won’t be running Les Templiers.]
- Fulvio Dapit (Italy) — Fulvio was 11th at Templiers last year. He was 10th at the race in 2012. He’s placed fourth at the past two editions of the Ice Trail Tarentaise.
- Fritjof Fagerlund (Sweden) — If Les Templiers was flatter or less technical, I would have included him in one of the previous sections as he’s undoubtedly in great shape. He was sixth at the IAU 100k (road) World Championships in September. He was 10th last November when the same event was run in Qatar. In August, he won the UltraVasan 45k event. However, he placed 23rd at this year’s IAU Trail World Championships and 28th at last year’s UTMB.
- Danny Kendall (U.K.) — Danny has taken fifth and eighth at the past two Marathon des Sables stage races. Last year, he was third at the British Trail Ultramarathon Championships and 14th at the CCC.
- Genis Zapater (Spain) — This 24-year-old ski mountaineer was fourth at the Marathon Pirineu last month and second at the Volta Cerdanya Ultrafons earlier this year.
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So it might be a bit of punt, but with a few exceptions the South African and Japanese ultrarunning scenes are worlds unto themselves. Here are the respective men’s teams with some notes where I could add something. If you’re familiar with the below runners, please shed some light on them in the comments. We’re happy to update this section!
Team South Africa
- AJ Calitz — 2015 South African Trail Ultramarathon National Champion; 31st 2015 IAU Trail World Championships; 3rd 2013 & 2014 Otter Trail Run
- Iain Don-Wauchope — 1st 2015 Coastal Challenge; 1st 2013 & 2014 Salomon Skyrun; 1st 2014 Otter Trail Run
- Alfred Rodney Green
- Andrew Hagen — 2nd 2014 Ultra-Trail Capetown; 1st 2013 Lesotho Ultra Trail
- Eric Ngubane — Runner up 2015 South African Trail Ultramarathon National Championships; 23rd 2012 Comrades Marathon; 19th 2009 Comrades Marathon
- Keita Kobayashi — 8th 2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji; 22nd 2015 TNF 100k-Australia
- Yoshihito Kondo — 18th 2014 Skyrunning World Championships; 2nd 2012 Hasetsune Cup; 5th 2013 Hasetsune Cup
- Koji Morimoto — 14th 2014 Hasetsune Cup
- Tomonori Onitsuka — 3rd 2014 STY (UTMF sister race); 2nd 2015 Ontake 100k Ultra Trail
- Satoru Suga — 26th 2015 TNF 100k-Australia
Other Fast Runners Not in the Team Competition
- Ernest Ausiro (Spain) — 11th 2015 Transvulcania
- Guillaume Beauxis (France) — 8th 2014 Ice Trail Tarentaise
- Dominique Bordet (France) — 14th 2014 IAU 100k (road) World Championships; 18th 2015 IAU 100k (road) World Championships
- Thierry Breuil (France) — 2nd 2011 Les Templiers; 5th 2013 IAU Trail World Championships
- Tòfol Castanyer (Spain) — It’s been a quiet year for Tòfol since he took second at the 2014 UTMB (interview). He dropped from this year’s UTMB with an injury.
- Julien Coudert (France) — 9th 2015 Transvulcania
- Regis Durand (France) — 5th 2012 CCC; 2nd 2015 OCC
- Emmanuel Gault (France) — 7th 2014 Les Templiers; 5th 2015 UltraVasan 90k [Update Oct 24: Manu Gault was officially added to the French team.]
- Miguel Heras (Spain) — It’s Miguel Heras! He was third at Ultra Pirineu last month and sixth at Les Templiers last year.
- David Jeker (Canada) — 14th 2014 TNF EC 50-Mile Championships – San Francisco; 10th 2015 Eiger Ultra Trail; 1st 2015 TNF Ultra-Trail Harricana
Dan Lawson (U.K.) — 2nd 2015 Spartathlon (246k); 1st 2015 Grand Union Canal Race (145 miles)[Oct. 22 Update: Dan Lawson won’t be running Les Templiers after all.]
- Clement Molliet (France) — 3rd 2015 Ice Trail Tarentaise; 13th 2014 Mont Blanc 80k
- Mikaël Pasero (France) — 5th 2015 Mont Blanc 80k; 2nd 2012 CCC
- Arnaud Perrignon (France) — 4th 2015 UltraVasan 90k; 12th 2014 Les Templiers; 7th 2014 French Trail Championships (60k course)
- Sylvain Perrin (France) — 15th 2015 Transvulcania; 1st 2014 Integrale des Causse (shorter Les Templiers festival race)
- Lambert Santellio (France) — 2nd 2015 Trail des Aiguilles Rouges; 1st 2014 & 2015 Restonica Trail
- Vincent Viet (France) — 4th 2014 French Trail Championships (60k); 3rd 2014 Eco-Trail Paris 80k
Call for Comments
- Who’s going to win Les Templiers this year?
- Which team is going to take the title?
- With over 2,500 entrants we surely missed some strong runners. Let us know who!
- Tell us if we’ve mentioned a runner who you think won’t be running.