Ellie Greenwood And Her Heart-Warming Return To Racing

AJWs TaproomEllie Greenwood, welcome back!

“I have been thinking about you a lot today knowing how much you’d love to be out here racing.” It was the first thing Ellie said to me after crossing the finish line at Western States in 2012. I was amazed: she had just crushed the course record and the first thing she said to me was that she’d been thinking of me. All I could think was, What a remarkable person!

As some readers know, back in 2012 I was sidelined with a knee injury for Western States so I spent that day covering the race for iRunFar and volunteering with the race administration. One of my tasks was to interview the race winners on the track after their finishes and I was honored to chat with Ellie after her historic run. From that point on we have enjoyed a marvelous friendship.

And, it is in that context that I followed along nervously with Ellie’s injury woes over the past 11.5 months. After what was considered by many to be one of the most extraordinary seasons of any runner ever in 2012 Ellie was sidelined. Her seemingly indestructible body had failed her and she was forced into a cycle of cross training, recovery, and rehabilitation. As I watched from afar I couldn’t help but think of my own injury woes a year earlier. While I am nowhere near the runner Ellie is, I could feel her pain in the frustrating cycle of injury, recovery, and re-injury.

Therefore, I was beyond thrilled to see her triumphant return to racing last Saturday at the Chuckanut 50k. Knowing how hard it is to come back from serious injury and understanding the doubt and worry that can accompany such a comeback, it was great to see Ellie returning with her signature fire and grace.

Last year at Western States when I was returning after a year away, Ellie joined us for the Veterans Panel two days before the event. It was an inspiring moment when I introduced Ellie to Ann Trason just prior to the discussion. Throughout the evening, these two ultrarunning legends regaled the crowd with stories and advice. In fact, given the magnitude of the moment, Ellie was the rookie in the group. She was wonderfully modest, cheerful, and hopeful even though she was injured and we all knew she desperately wanted to be back out on the trail.

It looks as though Ellie will be patient in her comeback with her eyes on Comrades on June 1 and then some middle-distance ultras in the summer and fall. However, I think I speak for us all in saying that when she is willing and ready, we look forward to welcoming her hopeful, cheerful, and jubilant spirit back to Squaw Valley with open arms. Last weekend was the first big step in that direction.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week
Boundary Bay - Scotch AleSince Ellie is of Scottish descent, living in Canada, and making her comeback with a race near Bellingham, Washington, it seems only fitting that this week’s Beer of the Week is from Boundary Bay Brewery in Bellingham. Their Scotch Style Ale is a red ale with a touch of hops and full-bodied flavor. I got a growler full last summer and it was great. It is strongly recommended to anyone who enjoys this unique variety.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)
Ellie, oh Ellie. Shall we roast and toast her and her return to racing? Have you raced with her, trained with her, seen her pool running or doing rehab, or been chicked by her? Leave a comment with your good Ellie story.

There are 4 comments

  1. klickteig

    Ellie is a true inspiration and fantastic role model for all of us!! She seems extremely humble and truly passionate for our sport. I look forward to following her many journeys.

  2. Tag1414

    A few years back at the Frozen Ass 50 in Calgary, Ellie hung out at the pizza party after and talked with all of the people that had taken part. Considering that she was done hours before most of us, we were so impressed by her positive and humble attitude and willingness to answer a bunch of newbies questions on ultras. What a great sport when the middle and back of the packers can hang out with the best of the best and learn from them! She may be of Scottish descent but we are proudly claiming her as Canadian!

  3. erin

    I think i am probably captain of Team Ellie ;) !! I was starstruck when I spotted Ellie the night before White River 50 2012 and my (extremely extroverted) bf Lars zoomed over and introduced us….Ellie is so sweet and humble and a true inspiration to me. Lars was touched this year at Chuckanut has he texted me "I ran with Ellie!!!" while volunteering at Chinscraper….he says that "running behind Ellie Greenwood" is a story for the grandkids. :) Genuine & humble and SO SO talented! Thank you Ellie, for inspiring us & way to go! Welcome back :)

  4. erlybird

    To fill in the story of my sweet, somewhat introverted gf…

    While working (not working?) the aid station at Mile 20 of Chuckanut, I was taking the opportunity of a pre-rush lull to run up and back and up and back over the 1 mile stretch of beautiful trails to either side of our outpost at the bottom of Little Chinscraper. As I jogged up the trail in the opposite direction to the runners coming in I saw several runners, among them Yassine Diboun, Jodee Adams-Moore, Adam Hewey, and then finally Ellie on the smooth, downhill section. I chose that moment to turn around and head back to the aid station, realizing, instinctively, that this was quite possibly the chance of a lifetime, to run with Ellie Greenwood. And I did run with her, at her pace, barely holding on, while she chatted and worked at psyching herself up for the push to the finish. She told me she wasn't feeling all that great, but for me, I had not run that fast in more than a year and I was amazed how effortless it seemed for her. I took in lots of data in those 5-6 minutes. Lots about taking a descent at speed and lots about maintaining and sharing a positive attitude while racing.

    After the race, I went to congratulate her and she thanked me, quite unnecessarily, for "the push she needed". From many others, I would have just considered this insincere cliché, but from Ellie, whether it was the gleam in her eye or her infectious smile, whether it was true or not, she had succeeded in sharing the joy of the day with one more person who will always remember it and will always be rooting for her from afar.

    1. EllieJG

      You got my sorry 'ol ass moving again Lars, it was truly appreciated. I'd been running the previous stretch solo so it was super to see you out on the trail. Thank you!

  5. mtnrunner2

    What a great story. Ellie's got to be psyched.

    And since my grandpa's side is Scottish, I'll see your Boundary Bay with Grand Lake Brewing's (CO) Plaid Bastard. They may have the smallest tasting room/bar ever. Pure mountain town, craft brew goodness.

    And if you're ever in Grand Lake or Granby CO, the trails are great. Lone Eagle Peak!!

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