Rob Krar won the 2015 Western States 100 in the second-fastest time in the race’s history… for the second-straight time. In this finish-line interview with Andy Jones-Wilkins, Rob talks about how his day played out.
Bonus: Video of Rob finishing the race.
* * * * *
Rob Krar, 2015 Western States 100 Champ, Finish-Line Interview Transcript
Andy Jones-Wilkins: What a race! What a race. It’s your third time here and second win… in style. What’s going through your mind right now?
Rob Krar: Nothing yet. Ecstatic. I love Christina. I would not be doing this without her, so thankful. My crew was amazing. Of course my sponsors—I would not be able to be doing this. Sponsors are the only reason I left my job as a pharmacist of 12 years. I truly believe that my job was detrimental to my physical and mental health, and I couldn’t have left that job without my sponsors. I’m so thankful. The race: I saw the temperatures and I counted the record out. I was racing to win today and I was just hovering along that record for so long, but I gave it everything I could on the day. That’s what’s most important to me.
AJW: You certainly did. A lot of us who have been around this race for a long time have been in awe of you these past few years. Today, the first 30 miles, you were the man in charge, you were charging when you needed to. You found what seemed to be a nice, settled pace in about seventh place and four-and-a-half hours to Robinson Flat which is very seemingly sensible for a guy as fast as you are. Then you began to make some progress through the field. I was particularly impressed with Michigan Bluff to Foresthill. You nailed that. By my unofficial calculations it was 52 minutes. Was that part of the plan?
Krar: The race is reflective of—I feel I’m in a really good place in my life right now. I came into the race very confident. I put the work in. I was confident in and had respect for the other competitors in the race. My race was unlike the previous two years. I was very confident and made moves when I thought the pace was slowing. The competitors were fierce. I wanted to and needed to break them early. I put some strong moves on at various parts of the course to test their strengths and determine their weaknesses. It was a lot of fun. It was a battle to the end. It just hurts. You know all about it. You get to Foresthill and Cal Street—it’s my favorite part of the course. Man, it was hot down there. Cal 3 to the river was just an oven down there. Yeah, I can’t be happier with how the day went.
AJW: Cal Street was amazingly just a couple minutes slower than last year. I mean, slower is the wrong word—2:03 last year, 2:07 this year. You seemed to hammer down to Cal 1 and then it sounds like the bottom lands there, Cal 3 to the river, that saps energy when it’s that hot. Not that you weren’t energetic anymore, but to Green Gate then, were you happy going back uphill and smelling the barn a little bit?
Krar: Yes, as hard as the climb is from the river to Green Gate, I was looking forward to getting back to hiking. I love hiking. It gets me into a groove and lets me hydrate and get some calories in. Yeah, Cal Street was tough. It was a little slower than I had wanted. I’d wanted to get to Green Gate a little fresher than I did last year. I really struggled, or I did a lot of hiking or walking last year from Green Gate to the finish. This year I was really solid from Green Gate to Brown’s Bar. I’m happy with that. When I got to Highway 49, it was a grunt in there. It was really tough.
AJW: Yeah, that Green Gate-ALT-Brown’s Bar, all of us were checking record splits and trying to do math. You were hammering through there on all this stuff twisting in and out and in and out making quick work at the aid stations. I have to ask, just a couple minutes over the 14:46 that Timothy [Olson] ran in 2012—was that motivating you as you got to the point where you were distancing yourself by about 15 to 20 minutes and you’re in that runnable part after Green Gate, or were you still in that “I’m in my zone running and whatever happens happens?”
Krar: Yeah, the course record was on my mind, but I just gave everything I could out there today. It’s a delicate balance. You could literally get a cramp a mile from the finish and it could cost you a finish. You have to weigh the risks versus rewards. I’ve always said chasing records was a dangerous thing. I reminded myself of that today and walked that fine line from Green Gate to the end.
AJW: As you know, it’s a long and storied list of Western States champions. As someone who’s been around the race a long time and known a lot of other people around the race, you are carrying this championship dignity, with humility, with pride. You’re making us all proud of you and proud of this event. So congratulations on your second win.
Krar: Just a check real quick. This is my third time running Western States and I’m living a fairy tale right now. Of course I have to thank everyone involved with the course. There are 1,500 volunteers out there for a population of 370 or so racers. Thank you so much. And Craig [Thornley] and John [Trent] and the Board, it’s a heck of a race. These three years hold an incredible place in my heart. I’ll cherish every one of them. Thanks everybody.