In two previous attempts in 2014 and 2015, Alex Nichols has placed third and fifth at Les Templiers. In the following interview, Alex talks about what he likes about Les Templiers, what he’s been up to since placing second at Western States, and how he thinks this year’s Les Templiers fields stack up.
Alex Nichols Pre-2017 Les Templiers Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Alex Nichols before the 2017 Les Templiers. How are you, Alex?
Alex Nichols: Doing pretty good.
iRunFar: Long travel from the U.S.?
Nichols: Yeah, it’s always a long ways to get here, right about 24 hours, but I’ll just sleep a lot tonight and hopefully tomorrow will feel good.
iRunFar: You got a nice run in today?
Nichols: Yeah, I got to run out in the rain. It’s a little bit stormy here, but it’s not too bad.
iRunFar: Should be good for race day.
iRunFar: This is your third time at Les Templiers?
Nichols: Yeah, third time now.
iRunFar: What keeps bringing you back? You’ve already had good success. You were third the first time here and fifth last year.
Nichols: Yeah, I like the course a lot. It’s just really cool being able to do one big loop and hit all these cool towns along the way. The atmosphere is really awesome. There are so many people here—I think 12,000 participants. Even the final-finisher ceremony for our race is just so memorable. You’ve got fireworks going off, music blaring… people are just so excited for the last finisher to come in.
iRunFar: It’s really cool because most of the top finishers are back out hanging out at that time. The race really does a good job of bringing people together for it.
Nichols: Yeah, it’s really neat seeing the kind of community they’ve created here.
iRunFar: What’s it like running through these towns?
Nichols: It’s fun. You get to see stuff that’s very historic. We were saying that today on the runs. “That building there is older than our country.” You’re running through these little narrow alleyways and stairways. You also get the countryside. You get some really nice vistas of the gorges. The leaves are changing. It’s a good time of year to be here.
iRunFar: Don’t you run through a 12th- or 10th-Century church in the middle of nowhere?
Nichols: Yeah, I think that’s one of the last aid stations, so you’re pretty much hurting at that point. Yeah, right through a church and keep going.
iRunFar: So this is your third time here, and you’ve had a third and a fifth. Do you think a win is possible out there?
Nichols: I think so. I think out of the three times, though, I think this is going to be the most competitive. The starting list is very stacked in both men’s and women’s sides, so I expect it to be pretty fast but I’m feeling good. I know the course really well now, and I think that’s a big part of it.
iRunFar: It’s a big mix, the course. There are some flat and fast places and then there are some really steep climbs and rocky descents. Do you enjoy that mix of terrain?
Nichols: The first part of the course is not my favorite because it’s basically 12 miles with only one real climb and a gradual descent, so as long as I get through that section feeling good, you get into these spots where you’ve got some serious technical climbing and descending and you mix that in with some fast running, so you’ve got a little bit of everything. Yeah, it’s good.
iRunFar: So you ran Western States this year and had a great race. You finished second. How was your recovery after that?
Nichols: It was pretty good. I spent the rest of the summer trying to get ready for Run Rabbit Run which unfortunately I went into basically just literally sick and tired. I was trying to ignore some stuff and it showed up pretty quickly.
iRunFar: Did life kind of get in the way with that one?
Nichols: Yeah, a lot of factors resulted in a pretty disappointing DNF, but on the plus side of that, I had that training background getting ready for that race that I was able to roll right into the training for this one.
iRunFar: Had you planned on coming to Templiers before Run Rabbit Run?
Nichols: Yeah, that was the original plan which was pretty risky because you never know what’s going to happen with a 100 miler. You may end up banged up. I guess it was a trade off.
iRunFar: Were you able to build a little more fitness after Run Rabbit Run?
Nichols: Yeah, I had a little bit of recovery time after Run Rabbit Run even though I only made it 22 miles. Getting over that cold and just the fatigue I was feeling… once I did that, suddenly my training was really great.
iRunFar: Even though you had that blip at Run Rabbit Run, you feel like you’re on top of your fitness right now?
Nichols: Yeah, the last few weeks have been really good. Yeah, it’s exciting.
iRunFar: Best of luck out there, Alex. Thank you.
Nichols: Thank you.