Festival Des Templiers

So with only 5 days to go until i fly out to Millau for the Grand Trail des Templiers I thought it would be good to do a little bit of research into the history of the race. The Grand Trail of the Knights Templar was created in 1995 in a humanitarian purpose to financially support an orphanage in Chad. The idea of organising a trail race dated back to 1990 after french journalists went to cover the Leadville 100 race in the US. An initial draft failed to take off in 1991, the race was originally called the Salamander and started in Millau and took in a circuit via Mont Aigoual. However the race project failed to come to fruition due to lack of support.
In march 1995, Odile and Giles Bertrand (journalists and designers of the french magazine VO2) returned from Chad and decided to try and relaunch the race. The last sunday in October was selected and the race was born.
Five hundred runners started the first edition of Les Templiers in 1995 which was originally on 65k long. The first edition was won by Patrick Fox and Corinne Favre.
Now in 2014 the running festival has grown massively, there are now 9 races over 3 days, ranging from the 100k Endurance Trail to the 13k Trail of the Troubadours. I am competing in the Great Trail of the Templars (73k/3400m vert gain) on sunday 26th Oct at 5.15am as part of the Europe team which consists of 4 female athletes (Nuria Picas-spain, Jasmine Nuninge-Swiss, Magda Laczack-Poland). We will be competing against the French team (Maud Gobert, Aurelia Truel, Stephanie Duc, Caroline Chaverot) and the U.S team (Cassie Scallon, Aliza Lapiere, Jodie Adams-Moore, Magdelana Lewey-Boulet) all great trail and ultra specialists so I am in no doubt that this is going to be a tough race. Apart from the first 2k which is on road, the rest of the course is run over a mixture of technical steep single tracks, forest paths, deep valleys and rocky summits. Obviously due to my road running background, my main concerns are the descents and how technical they will be. There really is nothing I can do about my nervousness on this type of terrain and all I can do is manage it as best as I can and work hard on the easier sections. With this in mind, I really have no idea how I will fair against some of the mountain goat runners. Time will tell but for now I am just excited and happy to be a part of this historical race.
So the rest of this week will consist of daily runs of up to 75mins with some tempo shoved in there to keep some speed in the legs before I fly on Friday which will be a day off. Saturday will be an easy jog before breakfast and then a massage. Sunday will be an early start but at least we will get an extra hour in bed as the clocks go back!
This will be the last big race of the season for me before I head to Nepal to do the Manaslu Trail race in November. After that I plan to REST, REST, REST!

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