Ruth Croft, 2017 Les Templiers Champion, Interview

A video interview (with transcript) with Ruth Croft after her win of the 2017 Les Templiers.

By on October 22, 2017 | Comments

New Zealand’s Ruth Croft won the 2017 Grand Trail des Templiers with a combination of good fitness and a solid race strategy of going out easy so she could run faster later. In the following interview, Ruth talks about why she intentionally started slow, her late-race logistical snafu, what she learned through the training block leading up to this race, and where she’ll close out her racing season.

Make sure to check out our in-depth race report for the full race story.

Ruth Croft, 2017 Les Templiers Champion, Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Ruth Croft after her win at the 2017 Grand Trail Des Templiers. Congratulations, Ruth.

Ruth Croft: Thanks, Bryon.

iRunFar: You had a good race from start to finish. How does that feel?

Croft: I wouldn’t say it was good the whole way.

iRunFar: Where wasn’t it good?

Croft: At the 65k, the last climb. I thought that I was getting crew, and I’d run out of gels and everything.

iRunFar: And there are no gels there or anything.

Croft: Well, the crew was at the top of that climb. So I was like, Oh, no, I’m going to bonk, but it was okay, once I got to the top of the climb and got crewed. I was able to get some gels and more fluid on board, so it was okay.

iRunFar: Obviously that can be a mental challenge, but were you physically wrecked, too?

Croft: Yeah, I was physically and mentally, but then after that, Elov [Olsson] caught up to me, and it helped having him to run with for a bit.

iRunFar: One of your teammates and friends?

Croft: Yeah.

iRunFar: Before that, you’d run at the front all day, and when did you start pulling away?

Croft: I actually didn’t. At the beginning, I didn’t run at the front. I was actually quite a bit back. I didn’t want to start out too hard. I only caught up at the first aid station at 22k, on the descent was where I caught up with everyone. I ran with Emelie [Forsberg] for a bit, and then I was behind or with Ida [Nilsson] until 44k. Then there was a climb going into the aid station, and I was able to pull away a bit there.

iRunFar: When I saw you and Ida together, you both looked really strong. Did you get a sense of how she was doing when you were running with her?

Croft: I think she was stronger on the descents than me, but maybe I was a bit stronger on the climbing. It was awesome running with Ida. We shared quite a few kilometers together. It just made it a lot more enjoyable.

iRunFar: There was a point when you were pulling away pretty quickly from Ida and the rest of the women’s field. Did you sense that?

Croft: Yeah, but I still felt like I was running within myself.

iRunFar: No discrete move?

Croft: No, just seeing how it goes.

iRunFar: What was it like finishing here?

Croft: It was awesome. It was a pretty technical last descent, but you know you’re pretty much home by that point.

iRunFar: Did you have your legs back under you after getting some food and fluids?

Croft: Yeah, then it’s not too bad. That last climb is not as long last that first one up there.

iRunFar: Does this end your season?

Croft: No, I’m going over to the U.S. to do The North Face again.

iRunFar: Again?

Croft: Again. I know. Ever time I say it’s my last time, but I end up there.

iRunFar: You got in some good runnable training here.

Croft: Yeah, from now until then the main thing is just recovery. I think I’ve done most of the training up to this point. The main goal is just to get recovered. I’ll maybe have one week where I can get some mileage in, but we’ll see.

iRunFar: Before the race this weekend, you were saying how you’d sort of bounced around Europe before this race. Where will you be the next couple weeks?

Croft: I used to go to university in Portland, Oregon, so I’m going up to see friends for a week up there, and then I’ll be in Flagstaff, Arizona, for the rest of the time.

iRunFar: So head over to the States for the whole time?

Croft: Yeah, because it doesn’t make sense to fly to New Zealand and then fly to the U.S.

iRunFar: It’s a good layover.

Croft: Yeah, it’s still expensive.

iRunFar: You get to race maybe against Ida again there?

Croft: Yeah, because I think Ida will definitely go over, and I think Emelie may or may not. So it will be good.

iRunFar: Emelie is a possibility. She’s got other stuff to deal with. Are you looking forward to that, or is it scary to race these strong women again so soon?

Croft: No, it’s good to have really strong women’s fields at Les Templiers and also The North Face. This year I think it’s also going to be really competitive as it is every year.

iRunFar: You’ve had some other really strong races. Is this on par with your best trail ultra?

Croft: Yeah, but I think the main thing for me is it’s shown how if I can get myself in the right training environment, it kind of sets yourself up a little bit better.

iRunFar: Does that have you excited for next season? I know you have one more race this year.

Croft: Yeah, knowing that, definitely, because I think previously I’ve just kind of been on start lines knowing my preparation hasn’t been ideal.

iRunFar: You’ll probably be excited to run the trails around Wanaka on the South Island?

Croft: Yeah, I’m really excited to live back in New Zealand.

iRunFar: Congratulations on your great race here, Ruth. See you in San Francisco.

Croft: Thanks, Bryon. See you in a few weeks.

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.