I first met Rob Krar in the summer of 2013 after his outstanding second-place finish at the Western States 100. It was Krar’s first attempt at the 100-mile distance and his 15:22 finishing time was a super-fast second-place time at the historic race from Olympic Valley to Auburn, California. That race was the culmination of an extraordinary four-month stretch during which Krar won and set course records at both the the Moab Red Hot 55k and the Leona Divide 50 Mile as well recording a then-fastest known time for Grand Canyon’s Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim route.
Upon meeting Rob post-race at Western States, I was immediately struck by his calm demeanor, gracious temperament, and focused discipline. Over the next two years, as most everyone knows, Rob dominated the Western States 100 with two consecutive wins (2014 and 2015 post-race interviews) and enjoyed celebrity status along the way. Of course, this celebrity status was not something Rob craved, or even enjoyed, and yet in the midst of his rise to ultrarunning fame, Krar was able to use his platform to raise awareness for the impact depression had on his life and running career and along the way he shared with the public a certain vulnerability that is remarkable.
Over the past few years, I have had the honor and privilege to participate in Rob’s annual summer training camp that he puts on along with his wife Christina Bauer. These camps, hosted in Rob and Christina’s Flagstaff, Arizona home, are truly an extension of Rob’s character. This past July at the camp, Rob shared with the group his physical journey over the past two years as he has struggled with injury, succumbed to surgery, and worked hard to return to the running form he once had. In his presentation to all of us, he was quite raw in his description of the path his rehabilitation has taken and he was cautiously optimistic about his return. On my last evening at Rob and Christina’s house, I got a distinct feeling that he had something great in mind, but that he may not yet have been sure of what it was.
And so it was with great joy and excitement that I cheered along with hundreds of Rob’s other ‘campers’ this past weekend as he raced the Leadville Trail 100 Mile. Seeing Rob return to running with the unabashed joy and rugged intensity that characterized his three Western States efforts to run the second-fastest time ever at Leadville was truly inspirational. I think all of us who’ve been a part of Rob’s journey these past few years knew he had it in him and were just waiting for it to happen.
Finally, each year at camp, Rob does an incredible job of introducing his guests. Not surprisingly, every time he introduces me, he talks about our mutual love of the Western States 100 and how much of an impact the event has had on his life and mine. This year, toward the end of his introduction, he said, “And I really hope to get back there someday.” In thinking about that comment over the past few days and reflecting on Rob’s Leadville performance, I can’t help but think that that ‘someday’ is now.
AJW’s Beer of the Week
This week’s Beer of the Week comes from Rob’s favorite Flagstaff brewery, Wanderlust Brewing Company. Among Wanderlust’s many fine offerings, their Pan-American Stout is incredible. This vanilla cream stout with a rich, robust mouth feel is an excellent take on a classic variety and well worth a try the next time you’re in Flagstaff.
Call for Comments (from Meghan)
- Did you see Rob’s run at Leadville last weekend? Can you share your observations if so?
- Have you also suffered from a major injury which required a long rehabilitation and return to fitness and form? What was the experience like for you?