By: Rob Krar
I’m an introvert at heart and never feel quite myself in large groups, the center of attention, or the focus of an event. The irony of this is I created a running camp hosting 20 strangers for a week with my name and silhouette front and center. However, stepping out of my comfort zone has been a goal and priority in my life for a few years now and the Rob Krar Ultra Camp fit perfectly into this mindset. The camp was born of a sense of gratitude for all that ultra running and the community I was welcomed into has given to me, and a strong desire to give back and share with others the town, trails, and most importantly the people who made this crazy ride possible.
I may be a little biased but I believe Flagstaff is the best location in the world to live as an ultra runner and the RKUC certainly hits many of it’s best-of highlights. Running includes the beautiful red rocks of Sedona, the majestic rim of the Grand Canyon, and of course the buttery smooth singletrack and rugged trail over the highest mountain in Arizona. It may be a running camp but food and camaraderie go hand-in-hand and easily hold their own during the week. Visits to our favorite local restaurants, gourmet picnics on-site at the end of one-way runs, and sharing our home for several dinners provide the perfect atmosphere and environment for sharing stories and conversation with new friends and creating memories that likely will last a lifetime. There seems a magic that builds throughout our time together and isn’t something we anticipated when we began hosting the camps.
Christina and I certainly didn’t expect the RKUC camps to be as transformative and powerful as they have become for so many ‑ campers, guides, volunteers and especially ourselves. It was an overdue reminder of all the great things that happen and deep connections that form spending time outside, bonding with new friends, learning and sharing. Camps create kinship, an opportunity to leave old baggage behind and offer a fresh perspective moving forward. It’s safe to say ultra running quickly changed the course of my life and sharing with others through our camps has been a truly rewarding experience. Our participants arrive as strangers and leave as friends. This little camp has been our opportunity to help make the world feel a little smaller, friendlier, and more full of hope. We’re forever grateful for the campers who have joined us and especially our Flagstaff friends who have volunteered, guided, and shared their stories ‑ the experience wouldn’t have been the same without them. With summer winding down and crisp autumn days just around the corner, we can’t wait to welcome the newest members to the RKUC community during our inaugural Fall Retreat in October!