Ellie Greenwood (Montrail) continued her amazing 2012 season with another win, this time at the Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) 100k. In the following interview, find out how she chased down the guys, how she approached a slower 100k event, and how she appreciated the company and encouragement she found in the later miles.
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Ellie Greenwood, 2012 UROC 100k Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Ellie Greenwood, champion of the UROC 100k. Congratulations, Ellie.
Ellie Greenwood: Thank you.
iRF: You had another win this year. Where do you store all the trophies?
Greenwood: Some are in the cupboard, they get rotated or whatever, right? But you can never have too many trophies to be honest.
iRF: That’s true. This one was well earned. You didn’t have a whole lot of pressure on the women’s side. Ragan Petrie ran a smart and consistent race, and she was always present. You had to worry about her, right?
Greenwood: Yes. Obviously, she’d won it last year. Apart from anything, she knew the course which I didn’t. She won it in a good time last year. I was a little tired, so I thought, “Well, if I’m a bit tired and she has a good day…” and that kind of stuff. I was getting feedback of how far back she was and stuff. I was like, “Well, if she stays that far back, I’m okay,” but I couldn’t afford to slow down at the end. There was a gap, but it could get eaten into.
iRF: But on the other hand, you had a large number of very competitive guys ahead of you, and you managed to catch a good number of them.
Greenwood: Yes. It was… well, it’s always nice to catch someone because you feel good knowing you’re running faster than the person ahead. And at the end it was kind of getting into my head that it top 10 would be cool. When we were on the Dragon’s [sic] Back with the turn-around, I’m counting them coming through. I think I was about 12th at that point. Why not? If it keeps you pushing and keeps you going a little bit more, yeah, picking people off, it’s good.
iRF: I saw you at mile 15 the first time and you were like, “I’m so lonely out here.”
Greenwood: It was crazy. I was on my own. I don’t mind running on my own. I accept that with ultrarunning, it’s kind of part of it. But I think particularly because I was on road… like if you’re on trail you’re sort of distracted by the terrain and that kind of stuff. I guess there was a guy not that far behind me, but you literally couldn’t see anyone. So I was thinking I’m maybe going to have 10 hours of this?? But then of course you get the out-and-back, and I started catching a few guys and that kind of stuff.
iRF: At CCC I know you had a great dialogue with an Irish runner.
Greenwood: Yes, today I found probably the only other Brit that lives in Canada that was on the course, so that was quite funny. Alister [Gardner] had gone a little bit the wrong way, so then he rerouted and I ended up with him. That was good because I’d gone through a little bit of a lull, so I was quite keen to keep with him. So we ran together for a bit and a bit of chit chat is always nice, and that was towards the end.
iRF: Is this your slowest 100k win?
Greenwood: Yes, but I haven’t run that many 100k’s. My others have been on pancake flat little circles. I’ve only actually finished one other 100k because I won the [IAU] 100k [World Championships] one year and the next one I dropped out. I guess this course [UROC] was faster than last year, because they’ve made some adjustments, but even so I’m happy with my time. I ran faster than I might have thought.
iRF: You’ve run an excellent 100k on the roads before. How much did you have to shift your pacing and strategy on the day?
Greenwood: I treated this a bit more like a 50 miler. That may be a strange thing to say, but I feel I’ve run quite a lot of 50 milers—and, okay, you’ve got that 20k more and that kind of thing—but I definitely used the roads to my advantage. I always feel uphills are my weakness. So if we’re on trails, that was maybe where I was losing some time. If we got out onto road, I was like, “Okay, might as well use my road speed because I’ve probably got more road speed than some of the people out here who are probably more from a trail background.
iRF: Did you have any lulls or any problems or any issues out there?
Greenwood: It was a day of, “Oh, I’m not feeling great. Oh, I feel okay. No, I’m not. Oh, I feel okay.” I really went sort of up and down. My stomach was okay all day but never great. So that’s never wonderful, right? There were bits where I was walking and, “Oh, I shouldn’t be walking.”
iRF: I caught you once.
Greenwood: Yeah, I think you caught me once. You probably didn’t get much of a response.
iRF: You did start running.
Greenwood: Yeah. No, it was cool. More towards the end at least there were people out there, whether it was yourself or the people at the aid stations, or catching some of the slower 50k runners. So that got me up. And a little shout out to David Horton who’s absolutely wonderful.
iRF: David Horton who puts on races, HIM?
Greenwood: Yeah, he was fantastic. He came along in the car and said, “Do you want some fries at the next bit?” I thought he was joking. He did have some fries. So I said, “Well, I feel kind of sick, so not really.” It’s lovely to have people out there like that… just a familiar face to take you from point-to-point along the course.
iRF: Congratulations on a great win here this weekend, Ellie, and on a great season. See you around.
Greenwood: Thank you!
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Greenwood: Yeah, that first bit was a little hard.
iRF: What? It’s just 100k.
Greenwood: 98k actually, according to my watch.
iRF: We could do a couple laps in the parking lot.
Greenwood: No, No. It’s okay. If it had been 2k longer, I’d have gone crazy.