“The green hat dude, he was flying,” said Julie Hagen of Idaho Springs, Colo. “He passed me in the last two miles and he was smoking.”
Hagen was running the 33k (20.5 miles) race, but Krar’s pace over 55k (34.2 miles) enabled him to overtake her and many others who were competing in the shorter event. His winning time was 3 hours, 44 minutes and 5 seconds.
The Flagstaff, Ariz., resident won last year’s Red Hot 33k before moving up to the longer distance this year.
“I had a good race,” he said. “I felt good.”
Krar, 36, said he’s been training mostly by ascending snowy peaks with skins on his skis, then skiing down. It’s easier on his knees than the constant pounding of running, he explained.
“Road racing has really beat me up,” said Krar, a former college middle distance runner.
Max Forgensi of Moab said after finishing 56th in the 55K that he respects Krar’s endurance, both on skis and on foot.
“That guy is a friggin’ Nordic nightmare,” Forgensi said.
He added, “It was a fun race. [Race director] Chris Martinez treats the runners right.”
Emily Harrison, 27, of Front Royal, Va., took the women’s 55k championship in 4:24:02.
“I’m new to this,” she said. “I just tapped into trail running. I was expecting it to be technical and out of my comfort zone.”
Harrison complimented Martinez for marking the course well and said she didn’t have trouble finding her way. She ran most of the race comfortably in the lead, but said she began with a pace that was “within reason.”
The top Moab finishers in the 55k were Lucas Blake in men’s competition (219th overall) and Jane Sherman among women (233rd overall).
Justin Ricks of Pueblo West, Colo., won the men’s 33k race with a time of 2:09:00. Ricks said he’s more of a road marathoner than a trail runner, and he built his lead on a flat section of trail after the last of five aid stations.
Ricks surprised his wife, Denise, with his speed.
“I missed his finish,” she said. “That’s how fast he was.”
Another Arizona runner, 30-year-old Alicia Shay of Flagstaff, cruised to victory in the women’s 33k race. She clocked 2:37:55 to finish 15th overall in just her second trail race.
“It was more difficult than I thought it would be as far as footing,” Shay said, adding she ran with another woman through the technically difficult middle section of the course.
A total of 800 runners entered the two races – twice the number in 2012. They included Sue Lackman, who traveled from Willington, Conn., to take part in the 33k.
“I’m working up to longer races this summer,” she said. “The trail was well marked and the race was well organized. I would recommend it to anyone.”
The finish-line area had a party-like atmosphere during the afternoon, with a clear blue sky and temperatures in the low 50s. There was music, a beer garden, food vendors, a massage tent for runners, and free apple butternut bisque from Eddie McStiff’s for all the competitors – the latter served from huge pots holding a total of 50 gallons.
Aid stations provided sustenance during the long runs. Runners fueled themselves along the way with oranges, packets of high-energy gel and an additive for water, whch was made available along the course, Martinez said.
Jill Panoke and Marcie Bailey, both of Salt Lake City, compared notes after finishing. It was the first Red Hot event for each of them and both said they enjoyed the terrain.
“It’s gorgeous,” Bailey said. “The views are awesome.”
“We’ll be back,” Panoke said.
Editor's note: This version corrects the last name of the women's 55k winner.>/b>