Rob Krar continued his excellent 2013 season by outlasting Dakota Jones to win the 2013 Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) 100k. In the following interview, he talks about his race, what he plans to do now that he’s a sponsored runner, and what’s up with his beard among other things.
[Editor’s Note: We also interviewed Rob before the race.]
Rob Krar, 2013 UROC 100k Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Rob Krar after his win at the 2013 UROC. How are you doing, Rob?
Rob Krar: I’m doing great.
iRF: That was one heck of a race yesterday.
Krar: Yeah, thanks, I won’t forget it soon that’s for sure.
iRF: At least for like two or three days, right?
Krar: For sure.
iRF: It really was a race the whole way. There was a lot of battling back and forth… position changes.
Krar: Yes. It was really exciting. There was a group of four of us all the way through Vail Pass, I think about 30 miles into the race. I’ve never run an ultra with so many guys so close that far into a race before. That was exciting. Then it really came down to a battle between Dakota [Jones] and I the last… I guess we merged again at Two Elks Aid Station and were really close for the rest of the race.
iRF: So less than five miles to go.
Krar: No, Two Elks…
iRF: Outbound, sorry. That was Eagles Nest.
Krar: So it was a really exciting race.
iRF: You guys were passing each other even after he caught up to you at Two Elks. He sort of pulled away a little bit going into Minturn, right?
Krar: Yeah, so we ran the majority of that descent into Minturn. There was a bit of a steeper section probably the last half mile onto the roads in Minturn. He pulled away from me there. I kind of reassured myself thinking once we hit the roads in Minturn I can use that pavement and my speed to catch up to him, but he was really strong through there and I was really struggling. So he actually pulled away from me through Minturn and then it was a battle up the last climb. I caught a glimpse of him with about a mile to go, and I just gave it everything I could to try to catch him at the top.
iRF: When you did catch him, did you stay with him for awhile or did you make a decisive move?
Krar: No, I made a decisive move. It was literally right at the crest, and I put in a strong move and pulled away from him and really just hammered the last five miles down to the finish.
iRF: Dakota was just saying that you got lost on the way to the finish?
Krar: Well, right as you began the descent there was a construction area which uses orange flags as well for a gas indicator. So I didn’t get lost, I just went 20 meters outside. It was not a big deal, but a little frustrating that close to the finish.
iRF: A little scary.
Krar: A little bit.
iRF: Then you just pulled away on the finish. I guess it was less than five miles down?
Krar: Yeah, I think it was 4.7 miles from the last aid station to the finish.
iRF: You put about three minutes on him.
Krar: Yeah, you know, I had that adrenaline going and I just really gave it everything I could coming down to the finish line.
iRF: How did it feel—there’s some super competition—it’s probably your biggest ultra win so far? How did that feel?
Krar: Man, it feels fantastic. It really does. It’s been a whirlwind of a year. I always say that, but it’s always true. I never thought I’d be doing this. It was exciting to have such great competition and to have such an epic battle at the end. That’s really exciting for an ultra.
iRF: You have had a great season. You’ve had some great 50 milers, the Grand Canyon, Western States, and this. Are you calling it quits for the season or are you going to hold out for a couple months?
Krar: I took a long break after Western, so overall I’m feeling pretty good. I’m going to take a week or two to assess how the body recovers from this one. But I’d like to do the Bootlegger 50k that Ian Torrence puts on.
iRF: Is that going to be the USATF Trail Championships this year?
Krar: It is, yes. Then TNF 50 in December. Then I plan on two months of almost no running. I’ll just get back on the skis and start hitting that hard. I love doing that in the winters.
iRF: So you do have a skiing background?
Krar: I grew up skiing, but I just started ski mountaineering. I hesitate calling it that because I’m just going up and down our groomed slopes. I’m not doing what Kilian [Jornet] does in Europe. But it’s the greatest fitness I think you can do in the off season. I’ve been doing that the past two winters and this will be my third winter doing it. I think it’s key to my fitness coming into the new year.
iRF: So really it’s not just getting off the pounding of running, but it’s a fitness builder too, in what sense? What’s the primary benefit of that?
Krar: Well, we’re up high so I start my runs at 9,200 feet. I get up to 11,500 feet. So you’re up high in the altitude. It’s just really hard, solid work slogging up the mountain.
iRF: You did recently, we talked a little bit earlier, just join The North Face Team this week. You’re a full-time pharmacist these days with kind of an odd schedule. You work one week on and one week off. Any thoughts on changing up your lifestyle now that you have some more freedom?
Krar: Yeah, so it’s an amazing opportunity. Christina and I haven’t made any firm decisions yet. Starting next year it would certainly be great to cut back and maybe get onto a part-time schedule. I work graveyards, so the tricky part is transitioning from days to nights and back and forth. It’s really difficult on the body and the mind to be honest. So if I can get off the graveyards, I think that could really help my general well being, to be honest. I’m looking forward to that opportunity if that’s something we can do.
iRF: So you think maybe keeping a day job, hopefully a day job, will maybe ground you or what’s going to be the purpose of that?
Krar: Yeah, I think having a part-time job… I’ve been working 12 years now. I think just going cold turkey and just not working would be too much time on my hands. I think I need a certain amount of commitments in my life and I think a part-time job would help with that.
iRF: Congrats your great race yesterday and good luck on times ahead.
Krar: Thank you very much.
iRF: Quick bonus question for you. How long have you had the beard and what’s the inspiration?
Krar: The beard is getting so much attention. I’ve had the beard since 2009. I think I grew it to impress Christina, most likely. I really love it. I feel really comfortable in it. It kept me warm yesterday. So yeah, I’m just going to keep rolling with it.