Here’s Rob Krar appreciating a fog-filled view from atop Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, California about five weeks before winning the 2015 Western States Endurance Run. That race, his second-straight States victory, was the last time he completed 100 miles on foot.
That is until three days ago, when Krar, on somewhat of a whim, won the Leadville Trail 100 through the high mountains of Colorado in 15 hours, 51 minutes, and 57 seconds, the second-fastest time in the race’s 35-year history (and Krar’s second victory at the event). Oh yeah, he did that just a week after finishing 14th overall in Leadville’s 100-mile mountain bike contest, which he completed in a stout 7:08:27. It was an epic performance by any and all standards, one the 41-year-old Canadian—who struggled physically and emotionally last fall while sidelined with a knee injury—called his “most fulfilling race yet.” He sat down with podcaster Billy Yang between races and opened up about his most recent bout with depression, explained how he uses mountain biking and ski mountaineering in his training, and talked about how he’d eventually like to return to Western States, amongst other topics. Krar also recapped his Leadville race(s) with Ethan Newberry on last night’s Ginger Runner Live, which you can watch here. (And if you want to nerd out even more, go nuts crunching his ride data and run splits from Leadville on Strava, and then read this Q&A he did with one of his sponsors to learn how he went about recovering between the two races.)
There were a number of outstanding performances in the trail and ultra world this past weekend—most of which you can read about right here—and not to take away from any of the other highlights at Leadville, Pikes Peak, and elsewhere, but Krar’s stands out to me for a few reasons: 1. He’s struggled to stay healthy in recent years and re-find the dominating form that he had 3-4 years ago. 2. He ran Leadville on not-so-fresh legs and off of little-to-no specific training. 3. He’s humble, likable, relatable, and a great ambassador for the sport. (Case in point: Krar made his way to the finish line just before 5 AM the next morning to greet Dave Mackey, the race’s last sub-25 hour finisher, who was completing Leadville’s Leadman Challenge a little over three years after a horrific trail running accident cost him his left leg.) Krar’s result is impressive on its own but even more so when considering the circumstances around which he achieved it. It’s great to see him climbing back up the mountain.