At this point in December 2013, it feels like Rob Krar has been kicking ultrarunning butt forever. It’s hard to remember that he emerged onto the ultrarunning scene just this past spring. But what a year he’s had, and the krarnage he wreaked in winning the 2013 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships seems like icing on the cake. In the following interview, Rob talks about his conservative race start, his aggressive move at mile 40, and his plans for 2014.
[Editor’s Note: For more information, we’ve published a full TNF 50 results article.]
Rob Krar Post-2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Rob Krar after his win at The North Face Endurance Challenge. How are you doing, Rob?
Rob Krar: I’m doing great.
iRunFar: You should be. You had a tremendous race out there. You started out reasonably conservative and within yourself. How would you describe your start?
Krar: Yeah, it’s been such a long season. My strategy today was to run as conservatively as I could for as long as I could in that race. I’d heard the race goes out quickly. I was content being—I don’t know where I was—maybe 20th or 30th early on in the race. I got into a nice pack. I think there were about 10 or 11 of us for a long, long stretch. That was a lot of fun. I like hanging in the back of those packs. I’m slower on the downs/descents and I feel like I just get in people’s way. So sticking to the back is a lot of fun because you can watch the race play out in front of you. That was the plan. I didn’t want to leave it to the last hill, so I think it was mile 39 out of Muir Beach is where I made the strong move. That hill is tough.
iRunFar: Who was with you at that point?
Krar: Chris Vargo and Mike Wolfe. We were running together out of Stinson Beach which is where we pulled away. Yes, we got up that climb and just kept the pedal to the metal to the end of the race. You never know what’s going to happen. I don’t like letting up. I like going hard to the finish. That’s what I did.
iiRunFar: It’s sort of the opposite of what happened two weeks ago at JFK because you wanted to reach deep down with 10 miles to go and you had it this time. Was it just how the day went or anything you did differently?
Krar: You know, I still don’t know what went wrong with JFK and that’s fine. I think sometimes you don’t figure it out. It could have been that I was just not well rested for it. My recovery from that was really great. I got out on the mountain ski mountaineering five times since then. I think that was great recovery. You know what? I put a lot of work into this season and this race. I think by running a smart race, it really played into my favor at the end.
iRunFar: You’ve had, as a total, a great season. It’s sort of that time where people speculate about Ultrarunner of the Year and your name is going to be coming up. I don’t mean to make your case, but how does it feel to come to the end of your season and be one of those two or three guys who just…
Krar: Just to hear that people mention that, I feel so honored. You look at the list of previous Ultrarunners of the Year and they’re just incredible, amazing names. To be even mentioned into that, it’s a true honor. There are so many amazing athletes out there; I’m honored to be a part of it. These guys inspire me with what they do. It’s fantastic. It’s blowing my mind away.
iRunFar: Speaking of inspiration, what are you inspired to run next year? Anything? You’ve got a lot of skimo you want to go do, but with lotteries and entries and all that you have got to think about these things.
Krar: I did commit to Western States at the last hour, so I’m on the start list at Western.
iRunFar: You’re going to be the top returnee?
Krar: Yes, Tim [Olson] is not running it next year. He’s going to explore some new opportunities. That’s really great for him. Yeah, I’m excited for Western. I have committed to Lake Sonoma. I’m looking into Tarawera. But other than those three, I haven’t put too much thought into it. For me, this is planning well and ahead from what I usually do. I’ll take a long break and look at the calendar and try to find some new races. I always love doing new ones and traveling new places.
iRunFar: Probably not back at Red Hot in Moab in February?
Krar: No, I loved that race, and I’ll be out there most likely.
iRunFar: You’ve run the 33k before that, right?
Krar: Yes, 33k, 55k. I’ll be out there. I’m sure there will be a crowd from Flagstaff going, but I’ll be on the sides cheering this time.
iRunFar: Well, congratulations on a great race and a great season. We’ll look forward to seeing you down the road.
Krar: Thanks, Bryon. Awesome. Appreciate your work out there.