Rob Krar is good at running 100-mile races through the mountains. In June, he took the Western States Endurance Run title and this past weekend he won the Leadville Trail 100, running the second fastest time in both races’ history. In conquering the Sierra Nevada and Rocky mountain ranges’ most storied ultra races, Rob has put himself on the map as one of the world’s best runners, something that would have been hard to predict for the former middle distance runner from the banks of Lake Ontario.
Rob has always been good at running. As a young track runner, Krar earned himself a scholarship at Butler University and boasts personal bests of 1:51 and 3:44 in the 800 and 1500 respectively. The Canadian native hardly has the prototypical background of an ultra marathon champion. Following his time at Butler, Rob moved to Phoenix to pursue a career as a pharmacist and mostly gave up competitive running. The city life in Phoenix wasn’t to Rob’s liking and when the opportunity to transfer to Flagstaff came along, Rob made the move.
Many runners have made their way to Flagstaff to log countless miles on the town’s endless mountain trails, but Rob ended up there by a different route. What was to be a short stint in Flagstaff to earn his pharmaceutical certifications, is now going on 8 years with no plans of leaving. Clearly, Rob also started lacing up the running shoes again.
Rob didn’t turn into an overnight champion. After running sparingly between his time at Butler and his arrival in Flagstaff (he graduated from Butler in 2001 and transferred from Phoenix to Flagstaff in 2006), his body had to adjust to training regularly again. It took a year or so before Rob’s running returned to form. At first, he took to the roads and notched personal bests of 2:25 in the marathon and 1:05 in the half marathon. Despite the competitive success, running on pavement took its toll physically and mentally and after extended time off for an injury to his heel that required surgery, he took to the trails in earnest. He has been destroying trail races since, from winning the Sportiva Mountain Cup in 2012 to his Leadville domination this weekend.
If Rob’s victory at Western States showed that Rob has arrived as a true ultra star, his win at Leadville showed that he’s not content to simply bask in his newfound stardom. Krar seems to have a genuine love for the trails and is more intent on covering as many miles as possible than chasing after adoration (Although his signature beard does have its own twitter account @RobKrarsBeard). For Rob, there is no rest for the weary as he is set to run Steamboat Springs’ Run Rabbit Run 100 mile race in less than a month. A win there would make for a truly legendary summer.