Rob Krar Climbing Back Up The Mountain

By Mario Fraioli |

Here’s Rob Krar appreciating a fog-filled view from atop Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, California about five weeks before winning the 2015 Western States Endurance Run. That race, his second-straight States victory, was the last time he completed 100 miles on foot.

That is until three days ago, when Krar, on somewhat of a whim, won the Leadville Trail 100 through the high mountains of Colorado in 15 hours, 51 minutes, and 57 seconds, the second-fastest time in the race’s 35-year history (and Krar’s second victory at the event). Oh yeah, he did that just a week after finishing 14th overall in Leadville’s 100-mile mountain bike contest, which he completed in a stout 7:08:27. It was an epic performance by any and all standards, one the 41-year-old Canadian—who struggled physically and emotionally last fall while sidelined with a knee injury—called his “most fulfilling race yet.” He sat down with podcaster Billy Yang between races and opened up about his most recent bout with depression, explained how he uses mountain biking and ski mountaineering in his training, and talked about how he’d eventually like to return to Western States, amongst other topics. Krar also recapped his Leadville race(s) with Ethan Newberry on last night’s Ginger Runner Live, which you can watch here. (And if you want to nerd out even more, go nuts crunching his ride data and run splits from Leadville on Strava, and then read this Q&A he did with one of his sponsors to learn how he went about recovering between the two races.)  (more…)

2020 Olympic Trials: Eugene’s Gain is Track & Field’s Loss

By Mario Fraioli |
Hayward Field, shown here in 2015, is currently a construction zone. Photo: Mario Fraioli

The 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials are heading (back) to Hayward Field. In a move that should surprise exactly no one, USA Track & Field awarded the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials in track and field to the University of Nike, I mean Oregon, after taking it away from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California.

“No domestic event is more important to athletes and fans than the Olympic Trials,” said USA Track & Field chairman of the board Steve Miller, a former director of global sports marketing for The Swoosh and former adjunct professor at the University of Oregon Warsaw School of Sports Marketing. “The 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials is even more critical because it will lead off an unprecedented opportunity to elevate track & field in this country.” (more…)

Do Running Shoes Need Regulation?

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Nike

The New York Times dropped this piece last Wednesday, saying that their comprehensive analysis of self-reported Strava data “suggests that, in a race between two marathoners of the same ability, a runner wearing Vaporflys would have a real advantage over a competitor not wearing them.” Runner’s World followed up with this reaction and Sean Ingle of The Guardian had something to say too. “But now [that] we know how well the shoes work, is it time to power down their afterburners?” Ingle poses at the end of his piece. The IAAF says not so fast.

“We need evidence to say that something is wrong with a shoe,” Yannis Nikolaou, a spokesman for the IAAF, told The Times. “We’ve never had anyone to bring some evidence to convince us.”  (more…)

Hardrock 100: It Didn’t Have To End That Way

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Xavier Thévenard—Facebook

Xavier Thévenard of France was disqualified from the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run over the weekend. Here’s the short of it: Thévenard, one of the top mountain runners in the world, takes water and gets some assistance from his crew outside of an official aid station 46.8 miles into the race. This is a violation of the event rules and the incident is documented by a bystander, who, encouraged by his friends, notifies race officials of what he saw. An immediate investigation ensues, including multiple interactions with Thévenard and his crew, the last one at the Mile 91.2 aid station, where Thévenard is disqualified—the first disqualification in race history (there would be another one later)—and given the option to finish the course (without appearing in the results) or drop out of the race. He decides not to continue and the ultrarunning world erupts like a volcano over the whole ordeal, and with good reason: It didn’t have to end that way. No really, it didn’t. Just read the rules. (more…)

Funky Town

By Mario Fraioli |


I didn’t run last Wednesday. It wasn’t a planned rest day, I wasn’t injured, and my calendar wasn’t exactly packed with appointments and phone calls. I just didn’t feel like it, which is rare for me, but the feeling had been building for a couple days, if I’m being honest. (more…)

Run The Dipsea (If You Dare)

By Mario Fraioli |

The 108th Dipsea Race took place this past Sunday about 15 minutes from where I live on a trail that I’ve run on countless times. I did not participate partly because my wife was racing elsewhere that day but mostly because the Dipsea scares the ever-living sh*t out of me and I’m convinced I wouldn’t escape without serious injury. (You’ll see why in a bit.) It’s also not an easy race to get into, even if you live in the area. (more…)

Struggling in Silence: Disordered Eating Was My Dirty Little Secret

By Mario Fraioli |

This was me 13 years and about 20 pounds ago. I was one year out of college, where I was an NCAA Division II All-American in cross country and qualified for indoor nationals in the mile. And you wouldn’t necessarily know it by looking at this photo, but I was silently struggling with disordered eating at the time. In an attempt to take my running to the next level, I convinced myself that I needed to better “look” the part of an elite distance runner. So I ran a lot—90-105 miles a week most weeks—but I also cut calories, swore off snacking, didn’t allow myself dessert, and made sure that I didn’t eat or drink after 8 PM. I obsessively tracked every calorie—less than 2,000 a day—and weighed myself at every opportunity. (more…)

Asbel Kiprop Keeping It Weird

By Mario Fraioli |
Kiprop is one of the most dominating middle-distance runners of all-time. Photo: Erik van Leeuwen

As with many doping stories, this is a weird one, and due to the stature of the accused party, is getting a lot of attention.

Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion (he was elevated from silver after Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test), three-time world champion, and fifth fastest 1500m runner of all-time, not only claims he’s innocent, but said in a statement that Kenyan anti-doping officers tipped him off to the test (this is a huge no-no) while also extorting money from him (also not allowed, obviously). Oh yeah, and the IAAF—the sport’s governing body—allegedly offered him an ambassadorial role if he admitted to doping (which the IAAF’s Athletics Integrity Unit denies). I’m interested to see how all of this plays out but I suspect we might be waiting a while. The cover-up stories/explanations from guilty/accused parties in these cases are almost always outrageous, inconsistent, and unbelievable, but this one seems especially so given that the last few details I shared only further muddy what is already a big mess.

(more…)

Show Her The Money?

By Mario Fraioli |
Elite women’s lead pack near the halfway point of Boston Marathon. It is decidedly less crowded than further back in the main field. Photo: Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Jessica Chichester ran the fifth fastest time amongst females at this year’s Boston Marathon, 2:45:23. She won exactly zero dollars in prize money for her efforts. Was this sexism, given that the fifth fastest male took home $15,000? Nationally featured political commentator, millennial expert (whatever the hell that is), and author of GOP GPS, Evan Siegfried, seems to think so and shared this ill-informed and inflammatory Buzzfeed article (more on that in a bit) to back up his case. But Siegfried, like many others who are ready to incite a riot over this, is way off base here. Let me attempt to explain. (more…)

The Perfect Storm: 2018 Boston Marathon Race Report

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Justin Britton

Monday’s Boston Marathon was equal parts awful and awesome. The air had a chill in it that resembled February more than it did April. The rain was relentless and the wind didn’t let up all that much, either. The whole day was just crazy. But it was still Boston. It was still the best marathon in the world. It still had an energy about it that even the worst of weather conditions couldn’t quell. I felt privileged to be taking part for the fourth time. (more…)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mario Fraioli
Mario Fraioli is a writer and running coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area.