After a three-year hiatus from running due to injury, Rob Krar came back with vengeance and set a course record at the 2012 Moab Red Hot 33k. He then set a Fastest Known Time (FKT) for single crossing the Grand Canyon. Later that year, he represented his home nation of Canada in the World Mountain Running Championship in Temù, Italy. These are just several of the many accolades Rob Krar has accumulated throughout his impressive career.
In just three days, the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run takes place and he’s returning as the defending champion. Here are a few of his thoughts regarding the “Big Dance”.
You come from a short distance background. Had you ever heard of the Western States 100 when you first got into trail running?
Rob: Maybe in passing but it wasn’t until I saw a photo of Tim Olson sitting in the chair moments after winning WS with a course record in 2012 that it caught my attention. My initial thoughts were how much of a badass Tim looked and how preposterous what he’d just done was. Little did I know a year later I’d be sitting next to him having done what I once thought preposterous, finishing second to Tim only a few minutes behind.
What compelled you to enter and race the Western States 100? Was it curiosity, the challenge, the history?
Rob: A few days before Leona Divide 50M in 2013 (WS qualifier) a friend asked me if I’d run WS if I qualified and I laughed at the thought. Two weeks later I responded to Craig Thornley’s email and accepted my invitation to the big dance. It was a healthy dose of all three and what seemed an innate desire to explore a further limit. I also knew deep down if I didn’t accept the invitation I’d undoubtedly always wonder and eventually regret the decision.
What does racing the Western States 100 mean to you? (meaning is it just another race, or does it have a deeper meaning)
Rob: WS holds such great meaning to me even after only racing it on two occasions. The first time around it was special for being a magical day during my first 100-miler in challenging heat and stiff competition. The second time around it was the culmination of a yearlong goal that began only moments after crossing the finish line second to Tim the year before. WS has a storied history in so many ways – to be a part of that history has meaning beyond what I can put into words.
What are you hoping to achieve this year at Western States? I am assuming that of course you want to keep the title, but is there anything else you are after?
Rob: Simply, I want to explore new depths and be the greatest athlete I can be on the day. I have an idea of what that means if it all comes together and feel the race is so personal that I want to hold those dreams close to my heart.
As a Western States veteran, what is one tip you could share about preparation for the race?
Rob: Better to toe the line a little under prepared and healthy rather then over prepared and nursing an injury. Start conservative – I tell myself the race doesn’t even being until cresting Emigrant Pass, 4½ miles and 2,500’ after the gun, that’s how conservative I begin the day. Finally, respect the early descents; they can cost you later in the race if you’re not careful.