For the second-straight year, Rob Krar won the Western States 100 and, for the second-straight year, he did so in the second-fastest time ever run on the modern course. In the following interview, Rob talks about how he was more aggressive in this year’s race, what his primary goal was on the day, whether he went to the “dark place,” what he does to turn things around when he’s going into a low spot, and where else he might be racing this year.
For more on how the race went down, check out our Western States results article.
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Rob Krar, 2015 Western States 100 Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Rob Krar after his win at the 2015 Western States 100. Congratulations again, Rob!
Rob Krar: Thanks, Bryon.
iRunFar: You had quite the race out there yesterday.
Krar: Yeah, it is a fairy tale. Yeah, it was a tough day as usual for any 100 miler, but it was a fun race. I’m proud of myself. I was more aggressive and purposeful than any 100 I’ve done. I learned a lot about myself as I do in any 100. I’m happy with it.
iRunFar: You were aggressive in a couple different ways. First, it seemed like you were testing the other runners along the way, kind of figuring out where their strengths and weaknesses lied and how to attack them.
Krar: Yeah, that was exactly what I was trying to do. I wasn’t terribly successful. The front runners… usually you can figure out, like you say, what their strengths and weaknesses are and there wasn’t any. I remember hitting Michigan Bluff and I think I was looking ahead at François D’Haene, and I actually let out a growl at that point. It made it fun and interesting. It was a lot of fun out there.
iRunFar: You were also aggressive on the time front. You started getting up… you were staying on the course-record time, but everyone really was early at that point in time. Then you started pulling further and further from the course record. You were going for it.
Krar: Yeah, sure the record was always in the back of my mind. I think we got through Dusty Corners, I think, five minutes ahead of course-record pace. I had determined that that pace was a little too hot, and I reeled it back a bit to give myself the best chance at the end. I gave it everything I could. It’s a fine line. The most important thing for me, my goal was to win the race and bring the cougar home. I kept that in the forefront of my mind. The record would have been bonus. It stings a little bit being so close, but I’m just so thankful. I can’t be disappointed in my run yesterday at all.
iRunFar: It’s just fun… not for you… but it’s the second-straight time you have the second-fastest run in Western States history.
iRunFar: Clearly, right now you’re dominating on this course. It’s such a storied course, and you’re the man right now. How does that feel? Not just individually on one day, but…
Krar: What a ride, right? My first 100 miler of my life, twice the distance I’d ever run, and I was second behind Tim [Olson] on almost the equally hottest day in history. Then I set a year-long goal to win it last year. To come back and defend my title, it’s been a fairy-tale ride. This race holds such a strong place in my heart in such a quick time. Not just the race, but the organization and everything, the history, and everything around it. I think it’s hard to beat around the world. Yeah, I’m so thankful.
iRunFar: You came into this at least with sort of a different outward approach than last year. We talked a little bit about that beforehand, but the previous year you were sort of closed and internal. This year you were more open. Did that affect how you felt during the race or how you interacted during the race?
Krar: Yeah, like I said talking to you before the race, I think I’m in a really great spot in my life right now. I’m really happy. I feel like I’m more at peace with myself than I have been in decades. That was reflected before the race. When that gun went off, that may have been my most focused race ever—in the zone, very quiet, deliberate. I loved it. That’s… when I talk about going to that dark place and soaking it all up, that was it.
iRunFar: It’s not a negative place. It’s just way into the well.
Krar: Yeah, and I can’t replicate it any other time of my life. So to go out there and have that day and have that race and go to that place I love so much, it’s a magical experience.
iRunFar: Did you have any particularly dark patches along that journey yesterday?
Krar: No, not terribly bad. I had the rough spots for sure, the low points. I found my energy kind of ebbing and flowing in peaks and troughs. You just have to squeeze and swallow another gel and try…
iRunFar: Do you ride it out or do you actively react to that when you start going into that trough?
Krar: I actively react, yeah. There’s a lot of strategy out there in terms of the heat, shade, taking advantage of a short shaded section as opposed to an exposed section, I’ll adjust my effort there and when I start to cool down, I’m getting a gel in.
iRunFar: Sun versus shade, how do you… do you go faster in one versus the other?
Krar: Yeah, I take advantage of the shade. I’ll roll a little harder and quicken the pace and effort, and then I’ll back it off in the sunnier, hotter sections. I just try and not allow the temperature to spike too much.
iRunFar: You were saying about taking gels going into a little hole?
Krar: Yeah, I really notice the difference really quickly when I hit a gel or any kind of energy nutrition, but you know how it is at the end of the race, “Oh, crap, I’ve got to eat another one of these gels.” You just have to get it down.
iRunFar: Any more plans for this year?
Krar: Yeah, I’ve got big plans. I’m going to see how I recover. I feel good right now. I’m really happy. I have my ultrarunning camp I’m putting on beginning a week from today. I’m really excited about that. UTMB and UTMF are on the books.
iRunFar: You got entries into both of them.
Krar: Yes, I have the plane tickets for UTMB.
iRunFar: So it’s probably on?
Krar: I’m fairly committed to this one. I’m excited about getting over there and just getting over to Europe and experiencing that. It’s going to be a great experience.
iRunFar: Congratulations and see you over there.
Krar: Thanks, Bryon.