The Western States Endurance Race is loosely known as the ‘Boston Marathon for Ultras,’ as it has a tough qualifying system, AND lottery, that competitors must get though to compete in the grueling 100.2 mile event. At the 2015 race, filmmaker Myles Smythe followed 2014 Champion Rob Krar, as well as UltraRunning Magazine publisher-Karl Hoagland and Nike Trail Elite’s Caroline Boller, as they trained, and then raced one of the most difficult events in the world. The end result is a beautiful film that is scored by Granddaddy’s Jason Lytle (and Aaron Espinoza); an accomplished trail runner himself.
On Thursday, October 22nd, there will be a screening of “This Is Your Day” at Runologie. The usual group run will take place at 6pm (with Myrtl and Planks at 5:45), with the screening inside the store at 7pm. The event is free of charge, but space is limited, so please reserve your ticket here (and RSVP on the Facebook event page).
The event is presented by Sir Walter Running, Runologie, The North Face, State of Beer, and Trophy Brewing. Trophy will be providing free pizza at the event as well! So feel free to bring a camping chair or crazy creek, and grab a beverage next door at State of Beer, and enjoy the show!
Most importantly – one of the film’s stars, Rob Krar, was nice enough to answer some questions about ultra running, the mile, his gear set up, and beer, right below here. See you next Thursday!
5 Questions with Rob Krar
1. Sir Walter Running: Winning Western States in 2014 was a great achievement. After doing so, how did your prep change from 2014 to 2015?
Rob Krar: I knew I had to up my game heading into Western States this year and the magic goal was to stand on the starting line that little bit fitter but still healthy and ready to roll. It’s a fine balance and I was thankful to accomplish my goals heading into race day. The structure of my training was very similar to 2014 but with a small bump in intensity and an even greater focus on rest and recovery.
2. Sir Walter Running: You were a miler/middle distance runner in college. What did you take from that kind of training that translates to your ultra training
Rob Krar: My university middle distance days are several running lives in the past at this point. I suppose I have the wheels to move pretty quickly but really stay away from that speed in training – the risk for injury rises exponentially the shorter the interval becomes. To be honest, the less I carry from those days the better off I am!
3. Sir Walter Running: In the film, your gear set up is quite meticulous. If you are just going out for a 20 mile-ish solo run, what is your self-supporting set up?
Rob Krar: My overarching philosophy in life, training, and racing is to keep things as simple as possible. I’m a big planner and planning helps me keep things simple – very evident from my gear setup and crewing strategy in the film. The same goes for that 20-mile training run – super simple, maybe a handheld, always a couple gels tucked into my pockets. For the most part, you wouldn’t guess I was heading out for a 20-miler.
4. Sir Walter Running: You have a wide array of sponsors, including Wanderlust Brewing in Flagstaff. How did that come about? How do they ‘support’ you?
Rob Krar: I love finishing a big day off with a cold brew and reaching out to Wanderlust was a no brainer for me. The owner and brewmaster is an athlete himself and very involved in the Flagstaff community. It’s been fun introducing friends and strangers alike to their flavors and my bottomless tab sort of makes me feel like I’m living the dream! I have a similar arrangement with Flag Buzz Coffeehouse as well and it’s always great bookending my days with two of my favorite spots in town.
5. Sir Walter Running: With an impressive resume so far, what are a few of your goals moving forward in ultra racing?
Rob Krar: I’ve had three amazing years at Western States and the race changed the course of my life. It’s given me so much and I don’t want to push my luck. I will undoubtedly return to States in the future, but it won’t be in 2016. I feel I have a few years left of improving and want to challenge myself with other races around the world.
I really enjoyed putting on my first ultra running camp over the summer and look forward to sharing my experience and our incredible trails in and around Flagstaff much more.
I also feel I’ve been given a platform and an opportunity to give back to a sport that’s given me so much. Mental health and conservatorship and stewardship of our lands are areas I want to focus on and hopefully make meaningful change towards in the years ahead.
If you enjoy 5 Questions, check out the archive of previous interviews over at Writing About Running