The Remarkable Rob Krar

AJW's TaproomI 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.

Bottoms up!

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?

There are 14 comments

  1. Dave Simmons

    That 2013 States is to this day still the most thrilling ultra I’ve watched by irunfar to date. The running and badassery, one through ten, Beast through Goat, was off the hook. I’ve still got saved that one through ten lineup picture with Morton eyeing Krar with a look of deep respect, which is no small thing. Congrats to you Rob on your return and thanks AJW for the write up.
    Dave Simmons
    West Virginia

  2. John Vanderpot

    I remember that run at Leona, it was on the “back-up” course, an out and back, I’d never heard of the guy and he was so far on his way back while I was still on the out I just assumed he was doing the 50K, not the 50M!

    Sure knew how he was after that!


  3. Jamie

    Wasn’t Krupicka’s 15:13 in 2010 a faster second place time?

    I’m really glad to see Krar back to form at the 100 mile distance. I’m a big fan. Thanks for the article.

    1. GoRun

      Also, Sandes went 15:03 for 2nd in 2012.

      Loved the article. I had a Krar shaped hole in my running life the last few years that has finally been filled. So glad he’s back.

      Thanks AJW and iRunFar.

  4. Beriba

    Good to see Rob back to form. This article made me go back and re-read the 2013 WS results. What happened to Cameron Clayton? He seemed to be the next big star but just disappeared.

  5. Paul J

    I love following this guy and his story! I truly hope for nothing but the best for him in and out of running. What he’s been able to do to bring attention to depression has been incredible.

  6. Matt

    Excellent write up and dedication to a superb man and athlete. Not on his own in the battle against the vicious disease but someone who fights on regardless

  7. Midratpacker

    Rob is signed up for CCC… is this correct?

    Could there be a sweep of Flagstaff runners at Chamonix? that would be crazy

    1. Rob Krar

      I withdrew from CCC last month. I’ve spoken a lot about allowing races to speak to me and Leadville was calling my name. UTMB/CCC is very high on my wishlist for the future!

  8. Withrow

    I obviously don’t know Rob personally but have appreciated his passion for running and his spirit. Wish him all the best as he runs the race of life. Looking forward to see him toe the line on upcoming races. Crush it!

  9. AT

    My brother was running a 50k in Bryce Canyon this past June, we were freezing and sleep deprived as he was called to the line. I glanced up and at the fire pit over from us, was Rob Krar. My brother cluelessly walks up almost behind him in line, and I am like dude, that’s a 2x Western States champion, he looks back at me in amazement, smiled and said, “wow, what are the chances..” I was able to talk with Rob for a few minutes after the race, he was genuinely just a cool guy. He blew away the course and was hanging out after the race like he just completed a 5k fundraiser run. Such a cool moment. Ironically I asked Rob about making a return to the 100 mile scene, and he said something along the lines of, “hopefully soon just working a few things out, but that’s the goal.” Congratulations on an epic run and strong recovery from surgery!

  10. Carrie S

    Like an idiot, I had my head down and was in the pain cave as Krar was descending Hope and I was still making my way up. He cruised past-no pacer, no bottles, no poles, no jacket. (Sorry I didn’t get out of your way!) Incredible performance, noting that he also crushed the 100 mile mountain bike race the weekend before. (Beating out many professional MTB racers!!) We’re all so happy you chose Leadville, Rob!

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