La Course des Templiers – 2013

Nuria Picas Templiers 2012 ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas Templiers 2012 ©iancorless.com

Millau, Southern France. The iconic ‘La Course des Templier’ has often been regarded as the Holy Grail of Trail in France. Salomon athlete and Brit, Andy Symonds won the race a couple of years ago and it made him a household name. Of course living in France and speaking the lingo did help.

The Great Race of the Knights Templar was founded in 1995 with a humanitarian purpose. To financially support an orphanage in Chad

Sighting the Leadville Trail 100 miler in the US as an influence, Odile and Gilles Bertrand decided to embark on this adventure in March 1995. The project was launched and a date was selected, the last Sunday of October.

But the format of 100 miles as at the Leadville race was considered too long and Odile and Bertrand decided to offer a more appealing distance of 65 km.

In October 1995 before the fortress of St. Eulalie de Cernon 500 runners assembled and the first edition was undertaken. La Course des Templiers gave birth to trail running in France. This first edition of Templiers was won by Patrick Fox and Corinne Favre.

Race start 2012 ©iancorless.com

Race start 2012 ©iancorless.com

THE GREAT RACE OF THE TEMPLARS

. Distance: 72 km – altitude: 3200 m +
. Departure: 5:15 (note time change), Millau, Millau Plage road (attention, 1h 20 ‘night in the morning) and arrive in Millau, Millau Beach Road 1.2 km from city center
. 4 stations (Peyreleau, St André de Vézines, Pierrefiche, The Cade)
. Registration limited to 2500 runners

A weekend of racing – Festival de l’Endurance

The Templiers race is part of the Festival de l’Endurance. The main event takes place on Sunday, the Grande Course – THE GREAT RACE OF THE TEMPLARS is steep and rocky, so steep that the race organisers place ropes in many areas so that runners can ease their way through rough spots without falling.

To add to that magical ambiance, it helps to know that Nant was one of many points in a network of secret trails built by the Knights Templar, the monastic, international military order formed at the end of the First Crusade with the mandate of protecting Christian pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem. The Knights Templar, known for their architectural skills and fighting alongside Richard I were the first warrior monks and were prevalent in that part of France until their downfall in 1307.

The race route uses the secret paths of the Templars which ncludes two long tunnels that had been used as shortcuts to beat enemies to strategic locations. The region has become a popular tourist attraction primarily due to the success of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.

2013 RACE

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB

Miguel Heras TNFUTMB

The 2012 edition of the race concluded the Skyrunner World Series but not this year! However, a quality field is assembled. Miguel Heras (Salomon) just missed out on the win last year so he will be looking for the top of the podium. However, he will have a re match with TNFUTMB winner, Xavier Thevenard (Asics). Thomas Lorblanchet, teammate of Xavier will also return, he has won this race several times before and without doubt be at the front of the race. Julien Rancon will be looking to repeat his victory but Michel Lanne may well be the favourite, he had some time way from the sport with a new baby and an injury but he is back.

Xavier winning TNFUTMB

Xavier winning TNFUTMB

The ladies race has the return of Nuria Picas (Buff) Nuria dominated the race last year ahead of Emelie Forsberg and Lizzy Hawker. Nuria has gone from strength to strength and after placing second at TNFUTMB and then shortly afterwards winning Cavalls delVent once again, she is for me, the outright favourite for the ladies race. Julia Bottger (Salomon) will also participate, however, I can’t help but feel it will be a little too short for her.

Nuria Picas winning Templiers 2012 ©iancorless.com

Nuria Picas winning Templiers 2012 ©iancorless.com

The main event takes place on Sunday.

You can see images from the 2012 race HERE

Emotions of 2012

What a year! what a year indeed… it is the last day of 2012 and like so many others I wanted to sit down, reflect on what has happened and put a post together documenting some of the special moments of 2012. But as I looked back, so many sprung to mind… many moments I witnessed through social media such as Facebook and Twitter and others I witnessed first hand. So I have decided to select key moments that I witnessed personally, however, before I do that I do want to give a ‘nod’ to some key moments that I didn’t witness first hand…

Australian Pat Farmer finally made it to the South Pole after starting at the North Pole (view here). Pat is a multiple world record holder for endurance running. He has run around Australia and across North America twice.

Salomon launched the Sense. A shoe that created a stir and a buzz that could only be compared to the same sort of buzz around an iPhone, iPad or equally another key moment of 2012, the Suunto Ambit.

Ryan Sandes arguably one of the best ultra performers in 2012 started of his year in style with a win at the Vibram 100km in Hong Kong.

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Micah True passed way from heart related issues while out running in Mexico. The ultra community bonded together as initially he was lost for days causing Scott Jurek and Chris McDougall (Micah was made famous in the book ‘Born to Run‘) to travel to Mexico and aid the search for him.

Jez Bragg won the Fellsman race for the 3rd time in preparation for his attempt on winning the UTMB. Unfortunately Jez was plagued throughout 2012 with stomach issues. We are pleased to say that he now seems to have rectified these issues and is currently blazing a trail on ‘The Long Pathway‘ in New Zealand.

Kilian Jornet announced his new project ‘Summits of my Life‘. A long term project that will take four years, during which he will travel to the greatest mountain ranges in the world attempting to climb some of the most breathtaking peaks and come back down again as fast as he can. Unfortunately on the first project, the crossing of Mont Blanc, the project was struck with disaster as Kilian’s ski guide and partner for the project, Stéphane Brosse fell to his death. Kilian devestated by the incident spent time with Stéphane’s family and withdrew from Western States.

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The big dance, Western States did not disappoint with two incredible performances and two course records. Timothy Olson beat Geoff Roes record with an incredible performance made all the sweeter when you hear his incredible life story… (listen to our interview on Talk Ultra) Ellie Greenwood confirmed herself as possibly the greatest female ultra runner of the moment breaking Ann Trason‘s long standing (considered by many unbeatable) course record.

Ellie greenwood

Dakota Jones after a storming win at Transvulcania La Palma went to Hardrock 100 as the one to beat… as it happened, Hal Koerner took the win with Joe Grant in second place.

Speedgoat 50K raised the question about trail, course markings and when and when you should not deviate from a course… ultimately our one and only Speedgoat made a decision that relegated Kilian Jornet from the top of the podium and replaced him with his team mate Rickey Gates. It all got a little crazy and of course RD’s will now make sure they specify the ‘rules’ when putting a race briefing together.

UTMB – It rained, it snowed, the cloud came in, the course got shortened and Lizzy Hawker won her fifth UTMB albeit NOT the UTMB as it was not a full course, so, Lizzy will be back! Francois d’Haene however was very pleased with his win over the shortened course.

Just a week after the UTMB, Francesca Canepa from the Vibram Team turned up at the super tough and long Tor des Geants and won it… amazing considering just 7 days before she was second behind Lizzy Hawker.

Lance Armstrong… need I say more!

Mike Morton had an incredible 2012 with a stunning performance at Badwater 135 just missing the CR by 75 seconds. In addition to this, Mike ran and won may 100’s all around the 13 hour mark. However his performance of the year came in Poland at the 24 hour Championships. Running 277.54 kms he dislodged Scott Jurek as the Amercan holder and set a new benchmark.

Kilian Jornet went back to his ‘Summits‘ project and set a second record on Mont Blanc. This time crossing from Italy (Courmayer) to France (Chamonix) in 8hrs 40min. Article here

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Fresh from a record attempt over Mont Blanc, Kilian Jornet went to Mt Kinabalu Climbathon in Borneo as part of the Skyrunning calendar, won and became World Champion…. again! Of course this race had some controversy as it didn’t go to the summit. Another outstanding performance was that of Emelie Forsberg, she won the ladies race and in doing so confirmed herself as one of the most talented and dominant females of 2012. Kilian now warmed up went over to Reunion Island and took on the tough ‘Raid de la Reunion‘. He made it look easy and he even had time to do interviews at the feed stations during the race… without doubt, Kilian is one of the most talented and gifted athletes in the world.

winner

Max King and Ellie Greenwood blazed a trail and set records (once again) at JFK 50… oh, did I mention Max’s run at UROC and did I mention Karl Meltzer and Lizzy Hawker winning at Run Rabbit Run… of course, what about Miguel Heras and Emelie Forsberg at San Francisco 50Darn it…. so many great moments…. what about Lizzy Hawker at Spartathlon, second overall and a new female record.

So finally Skyrunning announce the new calendar for 2013 and the big news is a simpler format, the inclusion of a 100 mile race and a season final in America at the Ultra Race of Champions. Without doubt (I am biased) Skyrunning was a game changer in 2012 and the new calendar has already created great excitement for the coming year…

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Believe me, the above list is by no means comprehensive and I am sure I will look back and think… ooh, what about this and what about that… I could go on.

But now here is my pick of personal moments from a great year. Rest assured, I am picking one month; one moment!

JANUARY

Talk Ultra was launched and thank goodness the format of an ultra running podcast that was more than just interviews was accepted. Taking the risk to do a ‘long show’ seemed to pay off and the loyal followers and support has been fantastic. I can’t thank you all enough for the growth of the podcast and 2013 will see it grow!

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FEBRUARY

For the 7th year running I went out to Club La Santa on Lanzarote and had another incredible week training in the sun with friends and clients. It has become a fixture in my year and never fails to disappoint. 2013 will see us arrive on the Canary Island once again for more fun in the sun.

Lanz

MARCH

A race fixture on my calendar for several years, the EcoTrail de Paris came around once again and I went out to Paris with Niandi for another great weekend of running and spending time in our favourite city. As it turned out we both had terrible races and DNF’d at the same time… you can always learn something!

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APRIL

I was fortunate enough to be invited over to Turkey to take part in and report on the inaugural Iznik Ultra. I had only been to Turkey once before, many many years before and that was to the South. So I  was very excited to spend time in Istanbul with Niandi and then head down to Iznik. The race was superb offering a selection of race distances over a varied course. Both Niandi and myself took part in the 60k event. I was pleased to come away with a win and Niandi made the podium in 2nd place in the ladies race.

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MAY

May signified a change in my year and very much set a format for what was to come… I was invited to the Transvulcania La Palma on the island of La Palma. Skyrunning had assembled one of the most competitive fields in ultra you will ever see or witness. It turned out to be a who’s who of ultra running. The whole experience is a memory I will never forget… training on the trails pre and post race with the best in the world, witnessing the race were Dakota Jones ran an incredible course record for the win and were Frosty (Anna Frost) set and smashed the old course record in what was to be one of the best performances of the year. This was followed with the conference ‘Less Cloud, More Sky‘ providing the ultra community an opportunity to help establish a direction for the sport in the future. We all then packed up and moved to mainland Spain for ‘Zegama‘ but that’s another story…

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JUNE

Zegama arrived and the heat and sun of La Palma was replaced with rain and mud. Lots of mud. Kilian Jornet just 7 days earlier had collapsed on the finish line at Transvulcania La Palma with exhaustion. At Zegama he showed his recovery powers and showed everyone in the race how to run in the cold, wet and mud. Oihana Kortazar took out the win for the ladies ahead of Nuria Picas who was slowly becoming ‘runner of the year’.

Nuria Picas - Zegama

Nuria Picas – Zegama

JULY

The Pyrenees and an invitation from ARC’TERYX to go and test out the new clothing range called ‘Endorphin‘ on the Skyrunning Ribargoza VK course. Great friends, great memories and some stunning scenery.

Arcteryx - Pyrenees

AUGUST

Wow – Trofeo Kima and one of the most impressive run courses I have ever seen. I was told by Lauri Van Houten before the event that this course would blow my mind. Little did I expect what lay ahead… 6 hours being flown around via helicopter on the most stunning and awe inspiring run terrain I have ever witnessed. Kilian Jornet won the mens race and Nuria Picas won the ladies race. A stunning stunning race that signifies everything that Skyrunning is. Want to enter…? Don’t hold your breath. This race happens only every other year and typically only has about 125 places available.

Kilian 4

SEPTEMBER

Berga in September, the weather breaks and Cavalls del Vent turns into a race of survival. Despite runners struggling with hypothermia the race produced a classic. The mens race was competitive seeing Kilian Jornet once again taking the win but this time ahead of Tony Krupicka finally finding some form after over 18 months out of the sport due to injury. Finishing off the podium was Dakota Jones. The ladies race produced the race of the year for me… so often in the longer distance races we see an outright winner crossing the line with 10’s of minutes to spare… not here! Nuria Picas, Frosty and Emelie Forsberg pushed each other right to the line with Nuria taking the win on home ground.

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OCTOBER

Southern France in the town of Millau. The temperatures dropped and I slowly froze myself following the La Course des Templiers, the final in the Skyrunning calendar. I will remember this race for the incredible win by Nuria Picas ahead of a sprinting Emelie Forsberg who put Lizzy Hawker into third place. In addition to this, Kilian Jornet and Nuria Picas were crowned World Champions. Incredible performers in an incredible series of races.

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NOVEMBER

The quiet town of Begeggi on the Italian coast and the Berg Trail. I had an invite from Salomon Carnifast to follow and photograph the race to help promote the first edition of the race. The race was being attended by mountain running legend, Marco de Gasperi. In the weeks before the race I contacted Stevie Kremer who had moved from America to Italy earlier in the year. We had met at Sierre-Zinal where Marco de Gasperi won the race and Stevie placed second. Marco unfortunately went of course in the Berg Trail and therefore spoiled any chances of a win. Stevie however showed her class winning the ladies race convincingly and placed top 10 in the overall. A name to watch for the future…

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DECEMBER

After a stunning year of following races, reporting and photographing I finally took some time out and headed back to the island of La Palma with my partner Niandi to play on the Transvulcania La Palma course. Two weeks of perfect weather and stunning trails provided the perfect end to a stunning year. It was great to spend that time on the trails in our own space and in our own time. Running when we could, hiking when we couldn’t run and walking when no other option was left… the latter half of the year was plagued by knee issues for me and although they havent gone, my time on the Transvulcania course with Niandi was a real highlight in an incredible year!

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the support I have received in 2012. From race organisers, athletes, team managers, brand managers and all those connected to the sport I love. In particular I would like to thank Niandi for her patience. I also need to give a special mention to Lauri Van Houten and Marino Giacometti from Skyrunning for the trust they placed in me for 2012 and the continued trust for 2013.

It has been an awesome year and 2013 is already looking like another year of moments, emotions and memories.

Sincere thanks to all of you

Les TEMPLIERS race summary

After a light dusting of snow during the night, runners for the 18th edition of La Course des Templiers had the prospect of a very cold day on the trails.

With a temperature range of -3-4 deg and a very strong wind, cold was going to be a major issue. On the start line runners assembled dressed for cold weather and believe me, they got it! Although the ambient temperature rose above 0 deg’s the general feel was considerably colder.

Stirring music, red flares and the runners left Millau at 0515 for 70+ km’s on trails.

Prior to the race we had a stacked field of runners but due to a string of late season injuries, several key runners were unable to run. Notably Leadville 100 winner Thomas Lorblanchet and Philipp Reiter. UTMB winner, Francois d’Haene although carrying a knee problem decided to make the start however dropped early in the race.

In the ladies race the notable drop before the race was Francesca Canepa who had started the Endurance Trail (102k) on Friday and stopped midway. For some reason she had planned to run ‘both’ races over the weekend! Anna Frost had been injured since Cavalls del Vent and was 50/50 but after having a short test run the day before. She ‘taped’ her legs considerably prior to the start and like the true competitor she toed the line see how things would go… after all, she was joint leader with Nuria Picas of the Ultra Skyrunning series and ‘Templiers’ would decide the champion.

The Race

Maud Gobert from France had set the early pace but she had been caught by Nuria Picas and passed. Emelie Forsberg and Lizzy Hawker chased. Frosty unfortunately never felt right in the early stages and she told me after the race;

“it was so cold and I just wasn’t performing as I should, it was a tough decision but a correct decision to pull out at the 22k check point before I did more damage”

Maud Gobert and Emelie Forsberg set the early pace followed by Lizzy Hawker. Nuria running from behind, caught Lizzy and passed her and then pursued the front-runners. Once Nuria caught them she pulled away taking Emelie with her. One has to say that if anybody deserved the ‘Champion’ title it is Nuria… she has consistently performed well throughout 2012 not only in the ultra series but Skymarathon and Vertical K. Nuria eventually pulled away from Emelie leaving her being pursued by Maud and Lizzy.

Between 22k and 35k Lizzy caught and passed Maud. Emelie Forsberg now chasing Nuria was caught by Lizzy who rallied. With Nuria crossing the line as race winner with a comfortable margin of almost 10 minutes, a race really was coming together for the 2nd place. In the end it came down to a sprint finish with Emelie just pulling away from Lizzy to beat her by 9 seconds. Without doubt it was a ‘royal’ podium. Emelie was only recently crowned world Skyrunning champion at Kinabalu and Lizzy Hawker has just had a golden patch with three superb wins at the shortened UTMB, Run Rabbit Run 100 and Spartathlon.

  • Nuria Picas 7:16:58
  • Emelie Forsberg 7:26:15
  • Lizzy Hawker 7:26:24

The men’s race had a clear favourite with last year’s winner; Andy Symonds. However he had a race in front of him. Julien Rancon was an early protagonist and eventually forged ahead of the race with Fabien Antolinos, Miguel Heras and Andy Symonds in pursuit. Julien has had a very successful 2012 with 7 races and 7 victories but no race had been longer than 60k.

With just over 10k to go, Julien Rancon had a 45 seconds lead over Fabien Antolinos and 1 minute over Miguel Heras. As I waited at the finish news came in that Fabien Antolinos had dropped; a real shock at such a late stage of the race. This left the door open for Fabien Antolinos to surge away from Miguel Heras.

 

He crossed the line in an emotional state. Tears in his eyes… he had run Templiers only the previous year and placed 4th. This was a sweet victory. Miguel Heras placed 2nd just over 3 min later and put to bed a mixed season.

On the line Miguel said:

“I am happy with the placing. I ran a good race but Antolinos was better… It’s always nice to run well and todays course was very pleasurable”

Andy Symonds ran into the finish with a massive smile and took an opportunity to dive into a pool of mud just before the finish line much to the satisfaction of the ground. Andy has become very much a hero in France. His win last year at Templiers cemented this.

  • Fabien Antolinos 6:10:35
  • Miguel Heras 6:14:54
  • Andy Symonds 6:23:51

La Course des Templiers was the last race in the Ultra Skyrunning series and as such a final presentation was made. Kilian Jornet and Nuria Picas stood on the podium to receive the respective awards from ISF President Marino Giacometti. Two great champions!

Note:

To add to that magical ambiance, it helps to know that Nant was one of many points in a network of secret trails built by the Knights Templar, the monastic, international military order formed at the end of the First Crusade with the mandate of protecting Christian pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem. The Knights Templar, known for their architectural skills and fighting alongside Richard I were the first warrior monks and were prevalent in that part of France until their downfall in 1307.

The race route uses the secret paths of the Templars. It has included two long tunnels that had been used as shortcuts to beat enemies to strategic locations. The region has become a popular tourist attraction primarily due to the success of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.

Key points on the course are the old village of Peyreleau, Route Alleyral, St Jean des Balmes, Roquesaltes (a protected site and an usual stone structure with a protected arch), the old castle of Montmejan, old cobbled streets of La Roque Ste Marguerite and Massebiau that has an old bridge.

The course has key points on the course of difficulty:

  • Cotes de Carbassaa 473m+ at 3km
  • Cote de Peyreleau 450m+ at 22km
  • Cote de Pierrefiche 346m+ at 46km
  • Cote de Massebiau-Le Cade 461m+ at 61km

La Course des Templiers – Preview

The final race in the ultra Skyrunning series comes to an end this weekend in Millau, Southern France. The iconic ‘La Course des Templier’ has one of the best fields ever assembled for this race. The inclusion of Skyrunning certainly has made a difference.

The Great Race of the Knights Templar was founded in 1995 with a humanitarian purpose. To financially support an orphanage in Chad

Sighting the Leadville Trail 100 miler in the US as an influence, Odile and Gilles Bertrand decided to embark on this adventure in March 1995. The project was launched and a date was selected, the last Sunday of October.

But the format of 100 miles as at the Leadville race was considered too long and Odile and Bertrand decided to offer a more appealing distance of 65 km.

In October 1995 before the fortress of St. Eulalie de Cernon 500 runners assembled and the first edition was undertaken. La Course des Templiers gave birth to trail running in France. This first edition of Templiers was won by Patrick Fox and Corinne Favre.

Mens field

Andy Symonds the 2011 winner of Templiers knows the course extremely well and after a great 2nd place at Transvulcania La Palma you can surely expect to see him up at the front. A top 3 placing is a distinct possibility and of course he may well get a consecutive win

Thomas Lorblanchet had a stunning win at Leadville 100 and has figured highly at other significant races in 2012. In particular Transvulcania La Palma and Salomon 4 Trails.

Miguel Heras is without doubt a top performer but he has had a mixed 2012 with injury. He dropped at Cavalls del Vent with hypothermia so he will be looking to put the record straight at Templiers. If he has a good day. Top 5.

Philipp Reiter has gone from strength to strength in 2012. A super talented young athlete with the ultra world ahead of him. In 2012 he has consistently performed at the highest level with wins and top 10 places in pretty much every event he has entered. I think Templiers won’t play to his strengths, having said that I would consider him to place in the top 10.

Terry Conway had his introduction to Skyrunning at Cavalls del Vent and fell victim to the foul weather. However, he knows what is required now and is just back from 2 weeks running in Italy. He has told me that he is ready for this race and he is ready to race!

Tom Owens is the UK’s most consistent performer at Skyrunning events in 2012 and this is reflected in his 3rd place at the World title. He is without doubt a contender for the overall win at Templiers.

Francois d’Haene has had a great 2012 and with 4th place at Transvulcania La Palma and the overall win at UTMB he will be coming to Templiers brimming with confidence.

Greg Vollet team manager at Salomon is a top quality athlete and this course will suit him. He has performed consistently well in 2012 and has had some great podium finishes. He is not as experienced at the ultra distance and he may very well just be running Templiers for fun…. You can’t rule him out!

Ladies Field

Lizzy Hawker is a late entry to the race and will without doubt raise heads within the female competition. Within the last 3 months she has had a stunning period of racing with a win at the shortened UTMB, a win at Run Rabbit Run 100 miler and then a win and third place overall at the iconic Spartathlon. Not only does this show incredible consistency but it also shows incredibile ability over a variety of distances and terrain.

Francesca Canepa was 2nd behind Lizzy Hawker at UTMB and then just one week later went to the brutal Tour des Geants and won that race. Templiers may very well not be tough enough for her but she will figure.

Anna Frost needs no introduction. Always a top top performer but after her 2nd place at Cavalls del Vent she has had some injury and therefore her performance at Templiers has question marks. If she is in form expect a top three.

Emelie Frosberg has performed and performed at the highest level in 2012. Templiers may very well not have enough vertical gain for her but that descent at the end will suit her abilities and if she is in contention expect he to open the throttle and potentially pull away.

Silvia Serafini is the newbie to the ultra series and this is only her second ultra. However, this race is not as demanding as other Skyrunning races and the ability to open up the engine and run quickly will suit her. She recently won the Royal Parks Ultra and placed highly at Kinabalu.

Nuria Picas is always in form and a fierce competitor. Always smiling, passionate about running she is a pleasure to watch. She has raced hard all year and after her win at Cavalls del Vent she said Templiers would be fun. Even Nuria having fun is a dominant force and I wouldn’t rule her out winning. However, the course is less technical and has less vertical gain than Nuria prefers.

Anne Valero is my outsider and placed well at the CCC in 2012. She runs well on the road and that combination of hill strength and road speed may very well see her pull something out of the bag at Templiers.

THE RACE

THE GREAT RACE OF THE TEMPLARS

  • . Distance: 72 km – altitude: 3200 m +
  • . Departure: 5:15 (note time change), Millau, Millau Plage road (attention, 1h 20 ‘night in the morning) and arrive in Millau, Millau Beach Road 1.2 km from city center
  • . 4 stations (Peyreleau, St André de Vézines, Pierrefiche, The Cade)
  • . Registration limited to 2500 runners

Sunday, the weather seems to be confirmed with a cold, dry and sunny day but temperatures may even be below zero at times.

Therefore the race organisers have stipulated that runners must have suitable equipment for the cold. However, no equipment is compulsory other than a space blanket.

If the cold continues recommendations are as follows: gloves are essential, also a head cover such as a buff. A light jacket is recommended for the start and long tights/leggings or long shorts short + long socks are a suitable compromise.

A weekend of racing – Festival de l’Endurance

The Templiers race is part of the Festival de l’Endurance. The main event takes place on Sunday, the Grande Course – THE GREAT RACE OF THE TEMPLARS is steep and rocky, so steep that the race organisers place ropes in many areas so that runners can ease their way through rough spots without falling.

The racing at Templiers starts on Friday and goes through to Sunday with a selection of races as follows:

FRIDAY

ENDURANCE TRAIL

. Time limit: 22 hours.

. Distance: 105 km – altitude: 4800 m +

THE TRAIL OF VIADUCT

. Distance: 26 km – altitude: 680 m +

SATURDAY

MARATHON CAUSSES

. Distance: 38 km – altitude: 1600 m +

MONNA LISA TRAIL.

. Distance: 26.5 km – altitude 1000 m +

KINDER TRAIL

. Distance: 1.5 km and 3 km for young

KD TRAIL – JUNIOR TRAIL

. Distance: 9 km – altitude: 300 m + (same course cadets and juniors)

THE Templar

. Distance: 9 km – altitude: 300 m +

VO2 TRAIL

. Distance: 19 km – altitude: 700 m +

SUNDAY

THE GREAT RACE OF THE TEMPLARS

NOTES

To add to that magical ambiance, it helps to know that Nant was one of many points in a network of secret trails built by the Knights Templar, the monastic, international military order formed at the end of the First Crusade with the mandate of protecting Christian pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem. The Knights Templar, known for their architectural skills and fighting alongside Richard I were the first warrior monks and were prevalent in that part of France until their downfall in 1307.

The race route uses the secret paths of the Templars which ncludes two long tunnels that had been used as shortcuts to beat enemies to strategic locations. The region has become a popular tourist attraction primarily due to the success of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.

FOLLOW the main race live on Twitter by ‘following’ @talkultra and ‘Like’ our Facebook page and see updates and images as the race unfolds HERE

ULTRArunning Magazine – Transvulcania

Really pleased today to finally get some proofs from ULTRARUNNING magazine on my article on the Transvulcania La Palma which I attended earlier this year as part of Skyrunning’s new ultra series of races.

Ultra SkyMarathon® Series

*SPAIN:  TRANSVULCANIA ULTRA MARATHON – La Palma – May 12 
USA:  Speedgoat 50K – Snowbird, Utah – July 28
ITALY:  Trofeo Kima UltraSkyMarathon® – Valmasino, Sondrio – August 26
SPAIN:  Cavalls del Vent – Cadi-Moixeró Natural Park – Pyrenees – September 29
FRANCE:  La Course des Templiers – Millau, Grands Causses – October 28

This article is in the July issue. You may download the article HERE

Please go to the website to view and subscribe to the magazine HERE