The bearded ultrarunning phenomenon known as Rob Krar is back. After a devastating knee injury in 2017, Rob underwent surgery and extensive rehabilitation that lasted through the spring of 2018. Not sure if he’d ever run again, Rob entered the Leadville Trail 100 Run that August and won by more than hour, notching the second fastest time in the race’s 36-year history. The week prior, he raced his mountain bike in the Leadville Trail 100 MTB and finished a respectable 14th place. Rob has succeeded in other sports. There was the badminton—yes, badminton—and water polo, followed by a more successful bid at triathlon in high school. More recently, he skied for Canada at the Ski Mountaineering World Championships in Italy in 2017 and raced with TNF teammate Mike Foote at the iconic Pierra Menta ski mountaineering race in France the same winter.
Rob grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, canoeing and cross-country skiing with his family, and gaining an appreciation for nature, conservation, and land protection. He went on to run cross-country and middle distance at Butler University, but figured that was the end of his running career. Rob spent 13 years as a pharmacist, 12 of them working the graveyard shift. Unhappy and overworked, he moved to Flagstaff in 2006, planning to study for his Canadian board exams and move back to his homeland, but the high desert mountain community convinced Rob to stay, and to get back into running.
The Transrockies Run in 2009 proved to be transformative—Rob met his future wife, Christina, but was also diagnosed with Haglund’s deformity on both of his heels, requiring surgery and two years away from running. In a sport where comebacks are rare, Rob returned to win the 2012 Moab 33K and followed it up with other victories. Rob tried his first 50 miler, the Leona Divide 50, in 2013, then set records for both double and single crossings of the Grand Canyon. When he placed second in his debut at the 100-mile distance at the Western States Endurance Run in 2013 and was named Ultra Runner of the Year, he unofficially launched his ultrarunning career. The following year, he won three 100-mile races in the span of 11 weeks—Western States, Leadville, and Run Rabbit Run.
Beyond competition, the 41-year-old speaks out on mental health by sharing his experiences in dealing with depression, hoping to raise awareness and reduce stigma, especially among the endurance community. He uses his success in the sport of ultrarunning as a platform for activism, advocating for the protection of public lands, and shares his expertise through mentoring, coaching, and hosting running camps from his home in Flagstaff.
- Two-time winner Leadville 100M, 2014, 2018
- Two-time winner Western States Endurance Run, 2014, 2015
- Two-time winner Ultra Runner of the Year, 2013, 2014
- Three-time winner TransRockies Run
- "50 Most Influential People in Running", Runner's World Magazine
- Ultrarunner of the Year, Trail Runner Magazine, 2015, 2016