DURING 2014 Ellie Greenwood won the world 100-kilometre title for the second time - she's Scotland's only reigning World athletics champion - and became the first British woman to win the Comrades Marathon, yet there was no hint of silverware in the big end-of-year sports award festivities.

Her 100k victory in Dubai came in brutal conditions, and with friend and fellow-Scot Jo Zakrzewski finishing third, it helped ensure world team gold for Britain. However there was no short-listing for individual or team honours in the award ceremonies.

Does this rankle? "No. I'm used to ultra running being a Cinderella sport," says the un-sung heroine. "Besides, it was late November when I raced in Dubai, so I guess, too late for consideration. But I'm delighted to gain some profile for ultra running."

Brought up in Fife - parents Cynthia and Jeremy live at Balmullo - Greenwood now lives in Vancouver and is an iconic figure in the ultra world where more men finish behind her than in front. Yet Cynthia still recalls making certain her daughter carried 20 pence for an emergency phone call when she went out on training runs as a teenager.

Greenwood won in Dubai by more than a mile, having led from just after half distance. "The race started at 6 pm, but the temperature when we started was still in the mid 20's," she said. "Heat does not really bother me, and I had done some acclimatising for about 10 days in a sauna - just an hour, sitting and doing some stretching, before I left Canada. And I did a couple of one-hour treadmill runs wearing tights, toque, hoodie, fleece, gloves - everything.

"I did keep the air-conditioning off in Doha. It is a thought, holding the World Athletics Championships there, the World Cup, and bidding for the Olympics, but I was on my feet there for far longer than any Olympic event, or any football match."

The race was 20 laps of a 5000 metres course, but South Africa's Comrades event - at 56-miles it's more than double the traditional marathon distance - was rather different, with temperatures peaking in KwaZulu Natal at 33 degrees.

The Comrades (15,000 starters), from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, alternates direction annually. "This year it was downhill [2000 feet of it] to Durban, but I'd love to go back and try the uphill race - though I'm not as good, uphill," she says. "Downhills are actually harder on the body, so recovery can be longer than on an 'up' year."

Greenwood's success this summer very against the odds. For 10 of the previous 11 years, the world's oldest ultra had been won by Russian twins Elena and Oleysa Nurglaieva, though in 2012 Ellie was just 72 seconds behind the winner. "This time it was almost a photo-finish, in ultra terms. I felt I was having a bad race early on. My legs were tight and stiff - I had spent most of 2013 out with stress fracture, but I got feed-back that I was catching the Russians. I was still three minutes behind with with less than five miles remaining, and finally overtook both of them very late on."

In ninth place was Zola Budd, Olympic Nemesis of Mary Decker 30 years ago.

Success in such heat is the more remarkable given that Greenwood's winter training, for years, has been in temperatures as low as minus-30. "I looked like an obese Yeti, or a bank robber."

Her cv includes several Scottish bests, a world best for a 100k trail race, and when she won the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run in California she smashed the 18-year-old course record. On her GB debut aged 31, she claimed both the World and European 100-kilometre titles and led the three-woman UK squad to team gold.

Born in Dundee, Greenwood was brought up initially in Fife, but moved to Norfolk when she was eight and to Canada in 1999. She acknowledges that women will never challenge men in shorter races: "but the longer the distance, the difference, percentage wise, does close. I think women should go out there and show they can be just as good."

Her victory in the 125-kilometre Canadian Death Run proved her point. She broke the previous men's record as she finished second overall. Run partly in darkness, it involves 17,000 feet of climbing and competitors have to raft Hell's Gate Canyon on the Fraser River. It's a simulated crossing of the Styx into Hades, complete with payment of a coin to Charon, aka the Hell's Gate ferryman.

She formerly worked with a ski tour company and lived at altitude in Alberta. Now, athletics success has enabled her to build a successful business as an ultra coach. The £19,000 she won in the Comrades has done no harm.

Yet she herself is self-coached. "My school in Norfolk wasn't overly sporty; I was on the netball and hockey teams but there was no competitive athletics. She ran the Great North Run at 20: "but nothing else until for a few years. She did the 2007 Boston Marathon in 3:07.20, and 13 days later completed the Vancouver Marathon in 2:55.18. She considered trying for the Commonwealths, but doubted she could run the qualifying time, and did not want to throttle back on ultras. "I wish now that I had tried," she says. "It all looked so amazing."

A vegetarian, she says she has no problem getting enough calories on board. "It's not difficult getting at all," she insists. "As a runner you do have to be careful what you eat, regardless. But as a vegetarian, you need to be a bit more careful about getting in your protein."

Greenwood will surely still be providing food food for thought when 2015 awards are considered.