Take It From Tony Krupicka

By Mario Fraioli

“One of the things that really attracted me to [ultrarunning] in the first place was the individual responsibility,” writes Anton Krupicka. “If I was going to suck, it was going to be on me, not contingent on the apathy of teammates. So, from the beginning, I was determined to at least not fail due to laziness.” Photo: Juan Ramón Rodríguez Sosa

Two years ago I went to the Italian Dolomites and ran a gnarly mountain race. I was one of only a handful of Americans who took part in the event and throughout my time in Val di Zoldo it seemed like all the locals had the same question for me: Did I know Anton Krupicka?

Krupicka, who had won the nearby Lavaredo Ultra Trail race the year before, is nothing short of a god in Europe. He’s revered in mountain running circles and still graces the pages of nearly every magazine despite the fact he hasn’t raced regularly in the past few years.

Why hasn’t he raced much? There are a number of reasons, but injury is one of the major ones: Krupicka has struggled to stay healthy enough to train consistently enough to put up high-level results. But forget racing—the dude just wants to be able to run again! It’s a topic he tackled candidly in this recent blog post that has relatable anecdotes and solid takeaways for hardcore racers and weekend warriors alike, especially those among us who, when in doubt, default to doing more.

“I almost immediately compensated by taking solace in the fact that I was at least trying really hard, i.e. running way more than was reasonable or advisable,” Krupicka writes. “If I wasn’t going to win races, at least no one could accuse me of laziness or not caring. This amounts to a sort of pyrrhic victory. Which is to say, not a victory at all. In fact, it’s kind of bullshit. There is no honor in running oneself into the ground.

A version of this post first appeared in the morning shakeout, my weekly email newsletter covering running, writing, media and other topics that interest me. Sign up here to get it sent to your inbox first thing every Tuesday morning.