Ellie Greenwood won the 2015 Les Templiers after what’s been a tenuous 2015 season due to several physical issues. In the following interview, Ellie talks how she felt from start to finish and her middle-to-late-race duel with second-place Jasmin Nunige. Also, find out where Ellie will race next!
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Ellie Greenwood, 2015 Les Templiers Champ, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Ellie Greenwood after her win at the 2015 Grand Trail des Templiers. Nice work out there, Ellie.
Ellie Greenwood: I’m super pleased with that result for sure.
iRunFar: You actually had to race today.
Greenwood: Yeah, it was a tough race. I honestly… when I decided to do this race, which was only about four or five weeks ago, I thought I would like to come top 10. I went in with the thought that I really don’t know where I’m at. I will admit when I was at Comrades this year it kind of backfired because I went into that not feeling good, and then I sort of talked myself out of doing well. So yesterday I was like, Yes, be happy with top 10, but equally don’t go, “Oh well, I’m in fifth, and that’s alright,” because maybe I could win. You’re only going to win if you really push it. Yeah, Jasmin definitely pushed me nicely up the hills.
iRunFar: Before Jasmin was pushing you, Anne-Lise Rousset took it out. She had a couple minutes on both of you and everybody.
Greenwood: I don’t know. Obviously, it was dark when we started and it’s massive people. It is the trouble with being a woman is then then women are mixed in with the guys, so you actually have no idea what position you’re in. I was running with Jodee Adams-Moore for awhile and Jasmin. We were all around the same area and we’d pass each other back and forth. I did say to Jodee, this was in the dark in the early hour-and-a-half or so, I said to Jodee, “Oh, it would be quite nice if we found out what position we’re in. I don’t really care, but it would be nice to know.”
iRunFar: At least you would have a reference.
Greenwood: Yes, exactly. Yeah, then I guess when I came into the first aid station, I think I was second at that point with Anne-Lise in the lead. I knew that I was in second, but Jodee is literally behind me, Jasmin is literally behind me. I don’t know who else might be within a few minutes. But I went out at what I thought was a pretty fast pace.
iRunFar: Then coming into the second aid station, you were running with Jasmin side-by-side, and you were asking who was ahead.
Greenwood: Yeah, like I said, I asked because at the first aid station it was, I’m in second. Great. Then I left. I was behind by four minutes which was fine. I didn’t really care. It was just good to have the information. Then it was like, Yes, but who is in first? It could be… could it be Cassie [Scallon]? I don’t know. Could it be Hilary [Allen] or someone from the U.S.? Could it be some French woman who I don’t really know? It’s just nice to have or to kind of know who you’re behind.
iRunFar: Were you and Jasmin still together when you went by Anne-Lise?
Greenwood: No, I can’t even remember, Bryon. Come on. It’s a couple hours ago. No, the thing was, and I even joked to Jasmin about this, on an uphill, she would go past me and I was like, “Oh, there you go again.” She was like, “See you on the next downhill.” It was immediately obviously from the start. We were doing this kind of… you always knew we were right there. No, I was kind of on my own, but Jasmin was not far behind. It just depended on whether there had been an uphill or a downhill.
iRunFar: On the flats you were pretty evenly paced?
Greenwood: We were pretty even on those, yes.
iRunFar: Now when you finally started to get ahead of you, did it feel like you were making a move? Did you know you were gapping her?
Greenwood: No, I didn’t because it was probably like I was just on a downhill. Then I thought maybe I had a little bit of a lead because we had done an uphill and this was coming up to around 60k. We were coming up an uphill and, Oh, she’s not caught me. But then I looked over my shoulder and she was literally five meters behind me. I don’t know if she saw me. Then we still had a bit more uphill and flat, so I just carried on because I knew there was a downhill coming.
iRunFar: And a pretty long one—a long, gradual, kind of rocky downhill?
Greenwood: I would have to consult my nice tattoo here. I was like, If I can keep in the lead then psychologically that helps me and is not helpful to her. Then, okay, get on on the downhill.
iRunFar: Even on the last climb, you must have been moving because you put time on her on the final climb.
Greenwood: It didn’t seem like I was moving. It really didn’t. Those last climbs are… people said they’re tough, but they are tough. They’re scrambly and super steep and you could see a radio mast or something. You look up and it seems like… and someone says, “Oh, it’s only five minutes away.” You’re like, “I’m hardly moving.” But I was going as fast… I wasn’t hanging around. It would be the sort of situation where it’s tempting to stop and take a breather for a couple of minutes or 10 seconds, but I was like, I can’t do that. So I was moving as fast as I could on the last uphills, but it was pretty snail’s pace.
iRunFar: Aside from the general fatigue of running a really fast 50 miler, everything hold up? It’s the longest run you’ve done in quite awhile.
Greenwood: It’s the longest run I’ve done since Comrades. Yeah, I think I maybe slightly pushed beyond my fitness, to be honest.
iRunFar: Bit of cramping out there?
Greenwood: Bit of cramping. It didn’t get serious, but I was like, I never cramp, and after an uphill there was a flat and I was cramping in my groin and earlier my feet had been going. It never went bad, and that was honestly why the last uphills were really hard. I wasn’t really breathing super hard, but it was just like my legs were tight and super stiff. Going on the downhills, they’re not necessarily nice flowy downhills, so they’re a bit jarring. When your legs are a little crampy it’s ooooooh.
iRunFar: Especially at the beginning of the last descent. Jarring is a good word for it.
Greenwood: Yeah, you’re leaping there and then it kind of makes a turn. I actually felt fine on the downhills right through until the end. I was pretty alright on that.
iRunFar: None of the injuries you’ve dealt with this year were bothering you at all?
Greenwood: No, not so far. We’ll see tomorrow. No, right now I just feel like I can’t walk.
iRunFar: So normally at this point in the season you’re tired. Any runner who has run all season is tired. You’ve run two ultras technically before this—a 44k and Comrades—but I would guess you’re still fresh and you’ve been building fitness. Does that make you kind of excited to think of The North Face 50 in a little bit over a month?
Greenwood: Yeah, definitely. It’s kind of funny. Everyone is like, “Oh, it’s the end of the season.” I’m like, “Oh, it’s kind of the start of mine.” Les Templiers had been a plan right at the start of the year. When I was dealing with injuries in June and July, It was like, Okay, maybe it’s still doable and I’d still like to do it, because I’d heard it was an awesome race apart from anything. It’s always nice to go, Okay, I did something on my calendar. Yeah, so now I will… I am aware I do have to be a little careful. I do still, not right now, have little niggling aches and pains. I will rest properly. I have said I’m doing The North Face 50. I’m sure I will. I haven’t signed up. I totally plan to. It was kind of based on how today went. If I’d come out of today limping, then maybe I shouldn’t. Honestly, today was more of a stepping stone in a way.
iRunFar: How will you tailor what you’re doing between now and The North Face?
Greenwood: It was sort of difficult training for this because I’d never seen the course. I think I’ll do reasonably similar. Obviously The North Face is faster. I think last time I ran it I probably finished maybe 50 minutes or so faster than I did today. I got 77k today as opposed to 80k, so it’s a pretty similar distance. So probably, like today, there were some really rocky, hiking sections. Obviously there’s no need to do that for The North Face. I’ll keep on runnable trails and that kind of stuff and keep up with some speed as well.
iRunFar: Alright, well congratulations on your great return to the trails, Ellie. See you in San Francisco in a couple of weeks.
Greenwood: Thank you so much. Yeah, look forward to it.