Nearing the end of a successful 2017 of racing, Ruth Croft is lining up at Les Templiers. In this interview, Ruth talks about what she’s thought of her season so far, why she’s eased back toward shorter trail races in the second half of this year, and where she thinks she’s at fitness-wise ahead of Les Templiers.
Ruth Croft Pre-2017 Les Templiers Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Ruth Croft before the 2017 Les Templiers. How are you, Ruth?
Ruth Croft: Yeah, I’m good, thanks, Bryon.
iRunFar: You’ve had a good year going back to The North Face 50—been on the podium there—running well at Lavaredo, winning at Ultra Pirineu Marathon. Do you think it has been a good season for you?
Croft: Yeah, it’s been a bit broken up. I came out and did Zegama and Lavaredo. I was kind of wanting to do more longer races, but after Lavaredo I decided I wanted to cut back down the distances.
iRunFar: What was the reasoning for that? You had a different season planned out.
Croft: Lavaredo, it’s an awesome race and I was happy with the result, but my body did not like that distance. It was way too long for me. After that, I didn’t want to go down that 100k and 100-mile track anymore. I just felt like I just hiked for a long time in that race. I didn’t enjoy it.
iRunFar: Do you think it’s a permanent decision or where you are now?
Croft: It’s where I am now. Definitely down the track I want to do more 100ks and more 100 milers, but I just think I lost so much speed. Yeah, I just didn’t enjoy it was the end result really.
iRunFar: Did you replan your season, or did you have these kind of races planned already?
Croft: After that, I went back to Taiwan and decided that I was going to leave Taiwan. I’m moving back to New Zealand. I had about four or six weeks where I was finishing up my job and getting stuff shipped back to New Zealand, so running wasn’t really a priority at that time. It was also summer in Taipei, so it was ridiculously hot. It’s just not even worth trying.
iRunFar: So you kind of had a little break?
Croft: You could say it was a bit of a break. Then, I decided to come out here and do Ultra Pirineu and delay the season a bit—Ultra Pirineu, Les Templiers, and finish with The North Face.
iRunFar: You feel pretty good at that marathon to 50-mile distance these days?
Croft: Yeah, I enjoy it. You go out there, you run… it’s more runnable, as well… and you’re done within a shorter period of time. You don’t have to organize nutrition, and you hopefully don’t need poles.
iRunFar: Even on the longer end of the 50-mile races you’re doing aren’t the slowest…
iRunFar: The winning women’s time here was about eight hours. There’s still plenty of time where you’re running hard and fast.
iRunFar: Do you enjoy that?
Croft: Yeah, I do. I’m interested to see how this race goes because of the course, as well. I’ve heard the first half is quite runnable. I saw that the last climb is short, but pretty nasty.
iRunFar: Have you come down the descent on this side?
Croft: Yeah, I have. I wasn’t expecting that at all, because everyone just says how runnable it is, but the ascent and descent are quite nasty.
iRunFar: If you look behind us, I don’t think that’s on the course, but you have that flat terrain and, then, you just climb… all the climbs on the course are kind of real hikers. Do you think that suits your style? Do you work on that at all?
Croft: Well, for this race, the main thing has been about getting on runnable trails. You can come over here and be in Chamonix where this quite like… you’re just doing a lot of climbing and not a lot of running. I’ve been lucky to have a couple weeks in Font-Romeu, so it’s good there because you can get quite a lot of runnable trails in.
iRunFar: Maybe looking back at some of the women who have won this race or done really well, there have been some of the women from the faster, speedier side as well as the folks like Núria Picas who are good at mountains. It’s kind of interesting that it brings… it’s kind of a meeting point of people with different specialties.
Croft: Yeah, people with different abilities. It will be interesting to see how it goes.
iRunFar: After that break, do you think you’re fit?
Croft: I think so, yeah. It’s just been good to be able to get a good block of training in in the right environment, like not having to deal with humidity. In Taiwan, 90% of my training was on a river path, a concrete path. It’s just been good to get a decent block of training.
iRunFar: Has it been nice mentally?
Croft: Even as much as I love Taipei, it was just getting hard mentally to get out training in that. I had good people, but it does make it harder. Over here, it’s easy to go out for a run.
iRunFar: You’ve been kind of bouncing around a little bit. Has that been hard or fun to spend a couple weeks here and a couple weeks there?
Croft: It’s been quite busy. I went and helped… I was at UTMB week and helped crew a friend for TdG. This past month I’ve been at Pau Bartoló’s house. It’s been good to be at his place and have a base. That’s as well as Font-Romeu. I’ve tried to stay places for a week or two, so I’m not moving too much.
iRunFar: Not crazy… so you feel like you have enough time to get there and have some training?
Croft: Yeah, check it out and get some training.
iRunFar: What’s been your favorite place to run these past couple months?
Croft: It’s all been pretty different… my favorite place? I don’t know. I’m not sure. They’re all good. Maybe Font-Romeu was good, because I had a decent amount of time there—two weeks—and I also had some good people to train with.
iRunFar: Right there on the French-Spanish border in the Pyrenees?
Croft: Yeah, and also around Berga with Pau’s is awesome. I got really lucky with what I had to train with there as well.
iRunFar: Sort of around that whole Ultra Pirineu area.
Croft: Yeah, it was awesome.
iRunFar: Best of luck out there, Ruth. Have fun.
Croft: Cheers. Thanks, Bryon.