Krar dominates, hundreds soak in Steamboat’s ultra-marathons |

Krar dominates, hundreds soak in Steamboat’s ultra-marathons

Rob Krar holds up his first-place check for $12,000 on Saturday night at the awards ceremony for the Run, Rabbit Run 100-mile race. Krar launched away from the field midway through the race to win the event and add it to his already long list of ultra-running victories. The event, which raises funds for local charities, annually draws elite runners with the largest prize purse in the ultra trail-running industry.

— There was a glitch late Friday night or early Saturday morning, and the gathered crew members and fans at Dry Lake Campground on Buffalo Pass above Steamboat Springs didn't know what to make of it.

A 100-mile trail-running race is an inherently difficult event to predict. A million different things can happen and sideline even the sport’s most elite runners. So, it wasn't exactly news that a favorite in Friday and Saturday's 100-mile Run, Rabbit Run trail-running ultra-marathon was having trouble.

But, Rob Krar? THAT favorite? The man well on his way to his second "ultra-runner of the year" distinction, reigning champion of some of the big races in the sport, Western States and Leadville?

The live-streaming results, accessed via cell phone, updated with check-ins from every aid station in the race, were clear: Krar was behind — way behind — and out of the top 10.

An explanation only came later, when a white headlamp came bobbing down Buffalo Pass Road, toward the camp and the hundreds of friends and family members waiting for their own runners.

Into the light came a brilliant yellow North Face jersey, a long, bushy beard and the unstoppable Rob Krar.

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It was his race to lose when it started on Friday, and in the wee hours of Saturday morning, he made it clear he didn't intend on losing it. He surged at around the 50-mile mark, broke away from a pack of other elites and continued to build a lead toward the $12,000 paycheck that came with the championship in the third-annual 100-mile Run, Rabbit Run.

"He just took off like a rocket," second-place finisher Josh Arthur said upon reaching the Dry Lake Campground aid station later.

Krar finished in 17 hours, 40 minutes and 5 seconds. Arthur was second in 18:33:05 and Jeff Browning third in 19:06:43.

"There was a long, smooth road there, and that's my bread and butter," Krar said of his launch point, after Summit Lake on Buff Pass and on Buff Pass Road. "It was a calculated risk, going that early in the race. You risk blowing yourself out. But, I felt it was an area of the course I could take advantage of."

The two-day race — the 100-miler starting Friday and the 50-miler beginning at 6 a.m. Saturday — did as it always does. It launched nearly 500 runners into the mountains above Steamboat Springs, and those runners, assisted by packs of volunteers manning aid stations around the area, inspired not just by their times or places, but by their tenacity to even try and, in many cases, finish such an endeavor.

It was that spirit women's 100-mile champ Nikki Kimball, a long-time veteran of the sport from Bozeman, Montana, saluted when she spoke at an awards ceremony Saturday night.

It was a big day for Kimball, one that began with her trailing close friend Stephanie Howe.

Howe succumbed to a knee injury, however, and withdrew. Kimball rolled on and finished with a huge cushion on second-place finisher, Kerrie Bruxvoort. Kimball was in at 21:14:36, Bruxvoort second in 22:49:02 and Darcy Piceu third at 22:52:40.

Kimball pocketed the $12,000 first-place prize then laid claim to the $1,000 prize awarded to the fastest masters runner, as well.

Race director Fred Abramowitz said the $13,000 was the biggest check ever awarded in a trail ultra-marathon.

"I didn't know how far ahead I was. I was running scared the whole last 30 miles," Kimball said. "To actually, at 43, in my 16th year, come back and win a big prize purse is an amazing feeling."

The course took its toll, knocking scores of runners from the race. Steamboat had two finishers in the 100-mile divisions. Travis Mattern was fourth in the men's tortoise race, finishing in 23:32:45. Michael Hlavacek wasn't far behind, 21st in 26:59:22.

Scott Klopfenstein was the top men's tortoise division runner, finishing in 22:35:05. Katie Noelck was first among the women's tortoise division at 27:29:36.

The 50-mile race drew another huge crowd, and Saturday afternoon those runners streamed down Mount Werner.

Gibb Kentz out of Glenwood Springs was the best of the bunch on the men's side, finishing in 7:46:54. Jesse Rich was second in 8:14:52 and Mike Wagner third at 8:15:23.

Britt Dick was tops in the women's field in 9:08:30, Meredith Edwards second at 9:15:57 and Anne Martin third at 9:40:50.

Michael Kelly was the top local in the men's 50, finishing in 9:50:25, 16th place. Kristin Feiges was the fastest local woman, finishing ninth in 11:10:01.

Top 3 results

Men’s 100-mile hare

  1. Rob Krar, 17:40:05
  2. Josh Arthur, 18:33:05
  3. Jeff Browning, 19:06:43

Women’s 100-mile hare

  1. Nikki Kimball, 21:14:36
  2. Kerrie Bruxvoort, 22:49:02
  3. Darcy Piceu, 22:52:40

Men’s 100-mile tortoise

  1. Scott Klopfenstein, 22:35:05
  2. Carson Rickey, 23:05:35
  3. Alejandro Rocque Venzor, 23:12:41

Women’s 100-mile tortoise

  1. Katie Noelck, 27:29:36
  2. Cindy Stonesmith, 28:11:44
  3. Siobham Pritchard, 28:28:45

Men’s 50-mile race

  1. Gibb Kentz, 7:46:54
  2. Jesse Rich, 8:14:52
  3. Mike Wagner, 8:15:23

Women’s 50-mile race

  1. Britt Dick, 9:08:30
  2. Meredith Edwards, 9:15:57
  3. Anne Martin, 9:40:50

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