Leadville Win Was (Not) Tainted

A Day in the Life88 Comments

ORIGINAL POST

Leadville Route Comparison

Started on Facebook via this post. Now I am bringing it here.

While I was at the back of the pack struggling with my own race in this year’s Leadville Trail 100, there was something brewing up front. Rob Krar was the easy favorite in the race. Heck, our local RunColo.com even joked about the landslide prediction by making the contest about who would come in second place to him. The talk was Krar all week in town as well. Everybody loves a fresh story.

However, there are a bunch of runners in the next 4 spots that are friends of mine. They work hard. They train on course. They put the work in. So when I saw what unfolded up front by reviewing post race, I felt like somebody had to say something about this.

So what I noticed was that Rob’s GPS route didn’t match the course on Strava. Specifically around the Winfield turn around. That’s odd.

Then I read Ian Sharman (3rd) mention Rob going off course in his blog.

Then I heard Rob on Ultrarunner Podcast and he admitted to this. He just kept his head down and cruised passed a turn. He ended up running the 2012 course that went to the campground at Winfield and then he came back into Winfield from the opposite direction. Ian speculated trail sabotage but nobody else reported as such.

Mike Aish talked about the situation on the Elevation Trail podcast. He is in a tough position. Who wants to win on a technicality? Mike works hard and I am sure he would have wanted to duel in the final miles. He knows Krar was the stronger runner that day. But that’s not reasonable in racing. Shit happens. And that’s why we run the race. You never know what might happen on any given day.

Talking with crews that were at Winfield during the leader’s run through, they confirmed to me that Rob never came down on the road to Winfield inbound where they were crewing. Then he suddenly was going outbound on the road. Where did he come from? The wrong way.

Using Google Earth to roughly measure, Rob’s path was 1.77 miles with ~500ft decline and 250ft incline, while the proper course is 0.7 miles 250ft decline and 35ft incline. So it was a harder and longer effort.

People that argue the other side give some reasons like:

1) He is a good guy. Whatever. That’s not even a serious argument in competition.

2) He is an honest guy. Then he would have raised this issue prior to hoisting the trophy. If he did and it wasn’t publicized, then let us know. But he did publish the Strava and had talked about it on the podcast. So he isn’t exactly hiding it either.

3) He ran a longer harder course. So? You don’t get to make up the course on your own. There are time and space considerations you avoid by not running the right course. You don’t trip on the same rock that everybody else does. The other competitors do not see you and get to feed off your presence. Who knows what you did on the unsupervised trail? You changed the game.

What do the rules say? Leadville 100 Run Athlete Guide 2014, pg 17, Racer Code of Conduct Section:

Rule # 4: Do not cut switchbacks. You must follow the trail as it is has been marked. STAY ON THE TRAIL!

Rule # 15: Violation of any rule will be grounds for disqualification. Race Management reserves the right to bar any runners from competing in this and any future Leadville Trail 100 races

Rule #17: Decisions of the Race Director and Race Management are Final.

I argue that solid determined focus that Rob runs with and benefits him…actually did him in.

What I am calling for? Leadville Race Management needs to address this. You have a runner that went off course and did not return to the place they left. What say you? Its OK because it did not benefit him. Or its not OK under any circumstance. They rules are gray at best.

I am not calling on Rob to do anything.

Screw you if you think I am a spoil sport. This is a great topic as the sport gains credibility. But more importantly Leadville is my town and my race. People talked shit about the quality of the race last year. We came back with a better race this year. But now I feel like a real issue is being ignored. To be the reputable race that this series is and needs to be, issues need to be addressed publicly and openly. Leadville’s survival depends on it.

UPDATE

The same day as this post went up, the Leadville Race Series issued a statement about this matter. Here it is. Basically they say the win stands. I commend them for addressing the matter directly. Per Rule 17 above, there is nothing more to see here.

However, I do hope we see some guidance show up in the future athlete handbook above leaving the course.

I will leave the post stand unedited as I still think this was a healthy debate to have. But I have edited the title and added the word NOT into it for clarity for that arrive in years to come.

Congrats to Rob and all the finishers. This was never about them. It was about understanding the rules and how they are enforced so we can have a better race next year.

  • Brett

    The biggest question to me is that he had to know he went off course when he went a different way back home. So he should have retraced his steps back down to Winfield and back again to successfully complete the proper course…If I am understanding all this correctly. While at the Winfield aid station the second time while retracing his steps, he should also have let the aid station captain or a race official know what happened and what he was doing. Really sucks for everyone, what a turd in the punch bowl situation.

  • pittbrownie

    I think Krar went to Kent State. Kent State upset Pitt in the NCAA tourney a few years back. So hell yeah, take this guy down! I think JMock knows some Amish mafia guys who will go cut off his beard if you want.

  • Markus

    Brandon, I post my comment from the ultralist here too:

    Rob Krar ran a

    lot more. Yes, he didn’t ran the full course. Should he be disqualified?

    I don’t think so. I don’t see any intention to cheat, he just missed a

    turn. Which never ever happened to any of us, right?

    The problem which gets exposed here nicely is, that race

    organizers post rules but in reality they don’t really make any effort

    to enforce them.

    I know an example from the German 100k

    Championships a good 15 years ago, when a well respected runner cut the

    course in one loop and was then well ahead of his long time rival. (

    both good runners in their 50s). The rival didn’t put in a official

    protest within an hour after the race so cheater wasn’t disqualified.

    There was one check point time missing for that runner, his

    time for that 10k loop was way to fast ( and he was a very consistent

    runner to begin with) which was recorded with a video camera at the 10k

    loop start/finish point.

    I think after week long discussions he was removed from the

    finisher list but the race officials had a hard time doing it, because

    there was no official protest filed.

    The older Leadville course with the Half Moon aid station had always one excellent place to cheat on the way back.

    If you where a little familiar with the area you could have cut a

    half mile or so going directly down to the Mt. Elbert trailhead instead

    of running a little further. They removed the trailhead sign for the

    race but the post was still there and I am sure some people took

    advantage of this situation.

    Luckily our sport is for the most part on on a track but that

    makes it also vulnerable to cheaters. With good rules, checkpoints and

    most important rule enforcement we could keep cheaters to a minimum.

    But right now I think race organizers don’t feel comfortable to do

    anything. After all they are running a business and don’t want to loose

    customers.

    I don’t see that Rob Krar had the intention to

    cheat and he ran even further. Technically he didn’t run the full course

    but he had no advantage with his alternate course.

    Markus

    who had his personal problems with a couple of cheaters, rule breakers and race organizers who didn’t do anything about it.

  • Lisa Hayen

    I would only consider this an issue if he wound up running shorter during his error. I know the proper thing to do would have been to retrace back to where he got off course, but he still didn’t shorten the mileage.

  • Timko

    Change Rob’s name to Kilian, or some other Salomon/European name, and see the outrage.

  • Scott Williams

    This is certainly a touchy subject but one that needs to be discussed in the interest of credibility of the sport. In my heart of hearts I want Krar to be the winner and I think he certainly deserves the win. However, (and this is stolen from Brandon himself) if the prize purse was $1,000,000 what happens then? It would be a clear cut decision because the entire world would be scrutinizing the results. Krar would be DQ’d and stripped of his medal and Aish would get the win.

    Since that is not the case, things are far more complicated. Emotions, friendships, good-naturedness, and opinions come into play.

    At the very LEAST we need an official word from the Leadville organizers. And, again personally, I hope they come out with a statement in which they are able to interpret the rules so that Krar remains the winner. While at the same time another part of my brain says they need to DQ him (or strip his medal) because he didn’t run the same course as everyone else. It’s kinda like being a parent and your kid does something wrong. You don’t LIKE disciplining him but in order for him to grow into a responsible adult you HAVE to.

    Much drama…much controversy…

  • Andy G

    I think the problem is that the Leadville Athlete Guide says nothing about what to do in the event that a turn is not marked (see below), and it does not say anything about returning to the course where you left it (which many races DO explicitly state). That is the real issue. They have no ground on which to DQ Krar other than some unwritten “rules” of the sport.

    According to Ian’s blog “Rob Krar took a wrong turn due to what must have been trail sabotage, costing him around six mins so he was perhaps 10 mins back from Mike. I would have gone the wrong way too but saw Rob heading back up the turn I’d have missed. That got re-marked in time for the next competitors but meant that Zeke caught up to me.” and Zeke’s blog “Ian and I were the beneficiaries of Rob’s misfortune, as he had gotten lost due to some missing course markings. Luckily for us, Rob was coming up the unmarked turn just as we passed it.” The Leadville organizers do not expect people to know the course and be able to follow it without markers (a la Hardrock) since you are almost always within sight of a flag even along obvious trails/roads.

    I agree that this is an interesting issue and races that are prestigious (e.g. Leadville) and where money is on the line (e.g. RRR) should think about how to deal with people going off course in the event of marker vandalism and poor marking. Specifically, should there be a difference when the problem is the fault of the race management (missing markers) and when the runner just blows through a well marked turn? Both cases happen often enough that there should be guidelines put in place ahead of time.

    Jokingly, maybe Leadville should do what Karl did with Kilian at Speedgoat and take away his prize money while still awarding him the win ;-)

  • Andrew Wellman

    Tough call. I guess the issue I have is that the rules are a bit vague. Rule #4 is the most applicable and if they interpret his running around the aid station as going off trail, then I agree the rule needs to be enforced. It would suck to see a guy of Rob’s caliber penalized for trail sabotage (the claim I’ve heard going about), but that is an issue for front runners in any race, unless they have experience on the course. I typically rely on following others, but knowing the course is the responsibility of the runner. I was part of a poorly marked 50 miler in AZ a few years back and the leader went off course and then just walked off, pissed. After that, they were running around re-marking the course like crazy. I went off course too that day, it cost me more than 30 mins, but I retraced my steps. The potential for going off course is part of the sport. And, I definitely agree that if race management already knew about this that they need to say something. One other issue that comes up here is the frequency with which Leadville has been changing the course lately. Pick a course and stick with it! I am really glad I didn’t finish in like 25:30 in 2012 or I’d be pissed about the course change and then shortening back in 2013.

  • JMock

    Butler.

    And the Ohio Amish beard cutters are all locked up, so leave me out of this!

  • georgezack

    Whether the course markings were sabotaged or not probably should have no bearing on this conversation. If they were, then why did Aish go the correct way (because he either knew the course, or they were sabotaged after he came through, perhaps by him, or the markings were right). As you said Brandon, it sounded more like a case of typical-we-have-all-done-it heads down focus by Rob.

    How many ultras have we seen where this going off the course thing happens? Uh, like all of them? And getting back to where you were/went off course is expected. Brett, I think you pointed out a crazy example of it at Hardrock.

    I guess technically Rob would not have to do a complete retrace. He could have gone back up out of the Winfield aid to where he went off course, and then come back down. That would mean a route of 1.5 miles to cover what he missed.

    Does that change the race? Well, that probably puts him down another 10 minutes or so behind Aish. Maybe 20. He crushed Aish on the other side of Hope by 30 minutes (which was the eventual time of the win). If I am the RD, I state “after reviewing the evidence (which would be more than this blogside analysis I am doing) Rob Krar is still the race winner. We hope to see you next year and we will continue to have our course as well marked as it can be but racers are expected to stay on the course, if they go off they must return to the place they went off course by their own power (no rides!). In this case, Rob’s error did not significantly impact the outcome of the race. Thank you and good night.”

    Sort of interested how much faster Rob would have gone if he had not done that … maybe another 10 minutes and so sub 16?

    While I agree what happened happened, and the focus needs to be on Leadville race management to discuss the issue, there is a damn good question for all of us as to what we would each do. Would you have gone back? Particularly when you were racing for the win?

    But I suspect Lifetime will do what they did with their response to the outrage last year. And what USATF did when they crapped the bed at indoors this past year. They will go quiet and not say a dang thing.

  • Brett

    Couldn’t agree more George. LT should publicly say something, and what you offer would be completely fair and reasonable (in my book). Although its still a turd in the punch bowl, because how much different would Aish and Sharman have raced if Krar would have been another 10 minutes back? And would Krar have raced differently had he been on the correct course and right on Matt Carpenter’s splits on the way home instead of behind them? Sucks for him too.

  • georgezack

    Actually separately, there is probably a question as to what course is the record. I don’t know the course well enough, or exactly how the modifications have impacted it in terms of time to state how a time of today stacks up against Carpenter’s (or anyone else’s) 2005 run. I expect that to be out there at some point too … if someone runs 15:41 or 43 then is it better or worse, blah blah blah.

  • JV

    Definitely a tough call. While no body can argue that Rob was the fastest that day and deserves the win, that has also been the case for Killian at Speedgoat 2012 and some Euros at the PPM mid 2000’s who did get off course and were penalized because of it (I know not exactly the same, but either way, the route/rules were not followed). I would hate to see him DQ’ed for it, but you are right, it should certainly be looked at closely by the race officials.

  • Louandru

    Not sure I get the issue. Staying on course is part of the race; you need to know the route or diligently follow the markers. If you get lost and have “bonus miles”, so what. As long as you don’t do a shorter route no one cares but it might cost you a win, a place or two, or a PR. Again, maybe I don’t get it. This topic sounds to me like something you’re read on an IronMan forum where it’s all about you and your time.

  • Brian

    What makes this situation unique is that it was near the 50M turnaround. If you go off course at Mile 35 you don’t just continue on and get back on course whenever you can, you go back to where you missed the turn and continue. It is sucky, but I feel it should be a DQ.

  • Ted

    He beat Mike by a half hour and ran a harder race – he won.

  • pittbrownie

    Butler also upset Pitt in the tourney a few years ago. So my position on the issue remains the same.

  • Timko

    Agreed. Look at it another way. Had someone behind Rob (Aish or someone) gone off course and they DID follow the rules, and backtracked back to where they got off course…then what would happen?

    If you screw up and go off course, you should follow the rules so that’s never a problem.

    Had Rob followed the general rule of backtracking to where you got off course, the outcome would have been different…so, I kinda see it as a benefit. It benefited his fuck up.

    And, let’s be honest. Had this been a Kilian or other Salomoned European, pitchforks would be out!

  • Brett

    What if Michael Johnson was so much faster in the 400m, that when he lined up in Lane 1 he took off, made up the gaps on the back stretch, and then veered out into Lane 8 to show boat the rest of the way and still won? He technically would have run a longer course, so it wasn’t a short cut.

  • Timko

    But…had he followed the general rule of “if you fuck up and go off course, you retrace back” – instead of just ‘ignoring’ your mistake…the outcome might have been different.

  • Andrew Wellman

    That is sort of the thing I keep coming back to. Krar has a responsibility to know the course, period. And whether he was a stronger runner that day is not the central issue here. The central issue is whether he broke the rules by running a different route than intended by course management. My sense is that the intent of Rule #4 is more of an environmental one, make sure people are not destroying the land by running on unapproved trails. In which case, he won’t be DQ’d because he ran a trail. But race management should be specific about what a runner should do next time, in addition to issuing a statement about this particular event.

  • symmitchry

    This is incredible, that you would put up a stink like this. Are you a lawyer who gets paid for this? Which issue is being ignored, exactly? No one gives a shit, except you, for some odd reason. He ran further. He won handily. He barely went off route at all. Jesus, it’s 100 miles in the mountains, not the Berlin marathon. I’m disappointed that you would use the word “Tainted” also. You are the one doing the “tainting” here. It’s not like it was a close finish.

  • Andrew Wellman

    But that’s not the central question. If a sprinter takes off half a second before the other sprinters but wins by 10 secs, he’s still DQ’d. It doesn’t matter that he was the stronger runner. He broke the rules.

  • symmitchry

    You honestly think he should be disqualified for taking a longer route, by a single mile? Jesus.

  • Andrew Wellman

    The issue is how much bearing the rules have in an ultra and whether he indeed broke the rules. Leadvilles’s rules are not specific about what to do in the event you go off course. It is fair to raise the topic because in most other distance of racing, the rules are the rules regardless of who the stronger runner was. I don’t see how they DQ Rob. But, I do think they should clarify what he should have done for future runners.

  • Timko

    If I was second place or third place…and my sponsor had a $5k bonus for 1st place….and went off course, and followed the rules and retraced back, like you are supposed to…I’d give a shit. If this was Kilian, pitchforks would be out (well, maybe not from a Canadian like yourself!). Had he followed the rules and when he realized he went off course, went back and retraced back…instead of ignoring the rules, what would the finish have looked like?

  • symmitchry

    I don’t see what Killian has to do with anything, I think the key issue here is an obsession with the “letter of the law” when it doesn’t benefit anyone, and certainly doesn’t benefit the sport. We aren’t robots, and we aren’t shitty lawyers – let us be honourable, honest men who use judgement to interpret the rules, to make the sport fun and fair. Of course If it was a really close finish, and he went shorter, (or even just a different way) then certainly we should have this discussion. Right now I think this is just annoying, detrimental, and petty. I’m sure he realized it was equivalent or further, and figured it made no difference. As I *think* 90 % of us rational humans agree?

  • Coach Weber

    The course is the course and the winner is the person who ran every step of that course in the correct order in the fastest time while following to the letter the rules of the race. This a simple issue. There should be no asterisks.

  • symmitchry

    The rules leave room for interpretation, because blind adherence to the rules leads to lame, robotic societies. Their rules are well worded, so that people (race committee, perhaps) can make a judgement that is both fair and reasonable. In a 100 m sprint, as your other example states, obviously there is much less room for error, and a false start makes a huge difference. In 100 miles, it doesn’t necessarily. We don’t need the race police at every intersection, or GPS and drone trackers. Ultra running isn’t going to benefit from over-zealous policing… So sure, if Brandon wants to have this debate, he can. But it’s unfair to say the win was “Tainted”. If I was Rob, I would be really disappointed to read that. I already am, in fact.

  • Brett

    A lot of people are missing the point. Over the years, many people have gone off course at various races. Some retrace their steps, some consult the RD and find an agreeable fix, some disqualify themselves at the finish, some get disqualified by the RD, and some results are arbitrated by the RD (Speedgoat). At Hardrock 100, Jonathan Basham went off course by twenty freaking miles – they put him all the way back where he first went off course.

    Was Rob fastest, but does he deserve a DQ? Its nearly unanimous that he was the best runner that day and the he does not deserve to be DQ’d. However, it is 100% factual that he did not run the correct course. Its a completely valid topic for discussion, however crappy it is that this happened. The what-ifs are amazing – what if he had retraced his steps and the top 3 were now much closer together? What if Rob realized it at Winfield and had to waste 5 minutes while someone contacted the RD to discuss what to do?

  • Timko

    When you knowingly fuck up, you don’t get to ignore/make up your own rules, regardless of how fast you are and if you were going to win anyway. You be a good sport, own your fuck up, and retrace your steps back to where you fucked up, and run the course everyone of your competitors runs. Running a ‘harder/longer’ course isn’t the issue/doesn’t have much an argument in mine.

  • symmitchry

    Well I agree with you. I think he totally should have gone back, if he realized he was off course… (Although if the course markings were gone, we’re only assuming that’s even possible.) But I certainly don’t agree with DQ’ing him or saying he broke the rules or saying his win was tainted by cheating.

  • Harry Hamilton

    If those are indeed facts then agreed. You should have to stay on the course or return to the point where you went off to get an official finish.

    Wildebeest NJ

  • Ted

    Please! That is like saying the above blog post did not follow the exact rules of english grammer and, thus, it should be immediately dismissed.

  • Alicia Shay

    AMEN!

  • Brett

    Taint means the area between your scrotum and anus. Taint also means contaminated or spoiled. I think its a completely valid point here to say that the win was tainted. Also, with so many runners, I’d bet quite a few people had tainted taints.

  • Scott Williams

    Please! There are no 1st, 2nd, 3rd place finishing awards for English grammar.

  • georgezack

    I actually said, I’d conclude Krar ought to not be DQ’d based on what I know (longer course, how the race played out).

    Had this mistake meant he dropped distance or vertical on the course, I’d probably conclude to DQ him – even if it was not his fault via course sabotage.

    The guy who cut all the switchbacks at Pikes to take the win (before he was DQ’d and they gave it to Burrell) cut a lot of time of the course. Not done to cheat from his perspective but that is how they did it where he was from: Europe. But he was appropriately DQ’d.

    We define what the race is, and we create the rules around it – and there are some that are a bit edgy: where you get aid (some stations no, some yes), if you can use poles, if your pacer can carry your stuff (mule), if you can use headphones, if your kit has the minimum stuff in it, what the course is and how you are expected to follow it and what check in requirements there are, weight requirements at aid stations, don’t litter, don’t use O2 cannisters, don’t take performance enhancing drugs, etc.

    By the way, there are a lot of other unwritten rules too: don’t jack the course markings, don’t scream negative crap at other people, don’t spit in the water jug. I think you can be DQ’d for stuff even if it is not written in the rules.

    When we sign up for a race, we agree to those rules – and at the most basic of rules of a race is what the route is.

    Sometimes we break the rules – not because we are a bad person, or because we are dishonest, but simply because we messed up.

    Ultimately I see this as not a question about Rob’s performance – like I said, he is the winner in my book based on what I have reviewed – but what this community is about and how it handles issues like this. Jumping on the guy who raised the question and saying no one gives a shit ain’t the way I want it to go.

  • darklingthrush

    Whatever. I guess competitive elite runners live in a different world. The guy made an honest mistake and paid for it by running extra miles with more climb. I do this in almost every ultra I run. Those of us who just love being out there and run events primarily for the camaraderie roll our eyes at this kind of drama.

  • Jimmy Dean Freeman

    Brandon,

    Your post heading is really sad, brutha. This post stinks of driving traffic to one’s site, a controversy for controversy’s sake.

    There is the spirit of the law, and the letter of the law. Considering the firestorm of commentary on the race last year (I have ONLY been involved in Leadville the past 2 years), this year was a huge success from top to bottom. I had a really amazing discussion with Josh where we talked about how wonderful it would be if people didn’t stir up some controversy this year. And here is this post. *sigh*

    I ask you this: take the names out of it for a moment, Rob, Mike, Duncan, Ian, etc. If your friend won, and an unknown was in 2nd, would you be rallying the same cry? I can’t answer that for you, I can only speculate. Josh knows all the facts. They made their choice, and just like all of the controversy birds last year, they don’t need to publicly comment to satisfy your individual needs. This isn’t a story. And you were exactly right when you said that Mike doesn’t want a win on a technicality.

    With Respect,

    Jimmy

  • Ted

    Certainly not for this nonsense, there isn’t.

  • steve-o

    baloney, that is the entire issue…. in his fervor to quote the rules, seems like Brandon didn’t actually read them…. the rules quoted above say “You must follow the trail as it has been marked”. Clearly there was an issue with the trail markings. It doesn’t say “follow the trail as you memorized it” or ‘as it was mapped”. They have to do it this way in the event of changing conditions. I

    also to the OP- The assertion that he was ‘making the course up on his own” implies malice and it is what makes you seem like a spoil sport. I don’t disagree that the issue needs to be addressed by Lifetime but trying to analyze Krar motives is gross.

  • pittbrownie

    I yelled negative crap at other runners all race long. I also took aid (PBR) from those guys on top of Powerline. If ya ain’t cheatin’, ya ain’t tryin’!

    This post might be tainting Mayor Fuller’s re-election bid.

  • NickP

    First, it is entirely possible that when Rob arrived in Winfield he was told that what he did was OK and to just follow the correct route on the return. If he was told that then any discussion of this is irrelevant. Whether or not this is the case I don’t know but has not been mentioned as a possibility.

    The RD and race management have the right to decide if his run was legitimate or not. I can think of multiple cases (cause I go off course a lot…) when the race gave an official finish even though the original route wasn’t followed. Several of us all took the same wrong turn cutting off ~1 mile at Speedgoat several years ago. Since it did not impact the race upfront nothing was done and the race continued on even though Karl was aware of the situation. When several of us opted for the make your own adventure route at Jemez last year we all received official finishes even though it was nothing close to the correct course. Again, it is at the discretion of the RD.

  • ff

    This is what I initially said too. At the very least, Rob knew he ran the wrong course when he reached the aid station. Yeah, it sucks, but he should have backtracked to the turn and picked up the correct path. The argument that he ran longer than someone running the true course so it should be ok is ridiculous. Everyone who gets off course runs longer. The point is that his feet never touched a section of the official course.

  • ff

    Ian’s comment was speculation. People who were on the course at that section both just before Krar went through and later in the day say that part was well marked both times.

  • ff

    Yeah, but in your scenario, Michael never left the official course.

  • ff

    That’s an excellent point, Nick! I could totally see an event representing “official” (I.e. Anyone working the aid station) say, “no biggie, it’s longer anyway, just run back the correct way. If that were the case, then the run is official.

  • steve-o

    Dunno.. claiming you own a town and race because you live there a few weeks for a few summers should disqualify him from the start.

  • Brett

    Yes he did, the course for a 400m run is your own lane. :)

  • ff

    Oh, I thought you meant the 400 MILE race. :-)

    True dat. Kick his ass out of there then!

  • Baloney

    Funny how everyone else seemed to be able to follow the course just fine.

  • Balony

    With respect, everyone knows that ‘in the spirit of the law’ ultrarunning, you get back on and retrace where you left off. It has been since the dawn of time. To not follow that ‘spirit’ is un-sportsman like. Especially if you are in the lead. You take your licks and do the right thing.

  • Craig Redfearn

    If they were going to DQ him they should have done it at Winfield when

    they noticed him coming and going. Then whoever was running the station

    should have said you need to go back to where you came from and make

    the right turn. They didn’t, and the only way anyone knows about it now

    is because he admitted to it. Can anyone really prove it other than a

    GPS printout. No. He won the race.

  • Brett

    Holy crap, did you guys see this???

  • Brett

    Hmmm, it dropped the attachment. Lets try again. :)

  • ff

    That’s technically a lot more climbing, so it’s ok.

  • Guest

    Last try, sigh. It shows me a picture, then when I hit post it disappears.

  • Guest

    Stupid, didn’t show me the pictures and then all of a sudden 3. Sorry I crapped all over your page Brandon.

  • Craig Redfearn

    Doubt I would have called Krar out on this. He is a stand up guy. Did they DQ him at Winfield? No. Should have they said some at that point? Yes. But they let him run 50 more miles back to Leadville without uttering a word along the way. That right there isn’t right. He won the race. Let it be. If Leadville DQ’s him, where is the proof other than hear say?

  • tosh

    Like rob said he was not thinking right and convinced himself that he was going the right way. Stupid thing to be upset about. It was a goos race rob still won and ran more than the second placer. Sooooo….. why is this an issue I don’t get it.

  • Vernon

    Based on my memory of running this long section in 2012 versus the current course, Rob should be given two trophies. Unfortunate situation but definitely tougher route.

  • steve-o

    You mean the other guys who have run leadville before? this issue is not about what others did or did not do. It is about Krar and proper course marking.

  • Billy Yang

    Agree. The mere fact that you moved the conversation to your personal blog makes me question your motives. Not to mention using words like “controversy!” and “tainted” to bring in the rubberneckers in many of us to weigh in. To me, this is much ado about nothing. It’s a 100 damn miles. He won handedly. Let’s move on.

  • Balony

    Tell that to Brian Morrison.

  • Balony
  • http://brandon.fuller.name/ Brandon Fuller

    Josh Colley, the RD, told me that he is aware of the situation and will be making an official statement shortly.

  • wtf

    >TThe point is that his feet never touched a section of the official course.

    Huh? It’s an out-and-back, he ran all of it back from Winfield, and 49.3 of it out to Winfield. He ran 99.3% of the course and 1.8 extra.

  • wtf

    Well yeah, it’s an out-and-back. Route finding is toughest for the leaders since they aren’t following anybody and noone is coming back along the trail either.

  • Sean Garbutt

    What if Leadville says that Rob did nothing wrong, that his win stands unequivocally, and that in the future, at Leadville, going off course is

    just fine? Brandon, would you still be upset, or would that solve the issue, as you see it?

    If your answer is no, then I ask you, and all who read this, what, in your opinion would contribute most to the advancement of our sport in the future:

    1.Disqualifying Rob; or

    2. Imploring the RD/management of Leadville to address what “going off course” means, the proper procedure a runner who goes off course should follow, and what penalties will result from going off course, if any. And, trying our best to give honest opinions to the RD/management of Leadville about what the rules should be, as a community and individuals with this community. And, finally, in doing so, remembering that the Leadville 100 has no obligation to represent the entirety of ultrarunning or even to follow unwritten but widely-accepted rules of this sport.

    I argue that simply disqualifying Rob serves no purpose. It doesn’t clear anything up. It just provides a ruling on one specific situation, without making provisions for the future.

    However, option 2 allows us to address the FUTURE of our sport, at least within the context of Leadville. The future of our sport is something we all care about immensely; that goes without saying.

    Perhaps some would advocate for undertaking both option 1 and option 2. However, I ask, what purpose would disqualifying Rob serve, that establishing clear and unequivocal rules about going off course at Leadville would not accomplish better?

    And, if those rules were established, what additional productive result would come from retroactively disqualifying Rob?

    No one will ever know precisely why things transpired as they did at Leadville 2014. Discussion of those events, while certainly tempting, will never uncover any absolute truth, and, even if they did, will not reliably solve any problems in forthcoming races.

    Focusing too much on the past takes focus away from the future, and I care deeply about the future of our sport, and I think everyone I have ever run an ultra with does as well.

  • Brian

    It is unfortunate, but yes. He left the course and returned further along the course, that is a DQ in any race. It doesn’t matter that he ran further, you usually do when you go off course. It also doesn’t matter if he finished first or last. He could have returned and done things legally and still won.

  • eric schranz

    Just received this from the RD. The case is closed.

    2014 Leadville Trail 100 Run Results Update

    Upon review, the event management team has determined that the announced event winner, Rob Krar, encountered inadequate racecourse markings during his outbound travels to the Winfield aid station.

    Krar chose the more defined Continental Divide Trail, which sent him on a longer course into Winfield, adding more than one mile of distance, along with significant elevation gain.

    As such, this course deviation did not provide Krar with any advantage whatsoever in completing the event relative to other competitors.

    Therefore, the race result stands and we congratulate Rob Krar for his impressive victory.

    Josh Colley

    LRS Race Director

  • eric schrnz
  • Brian

    It all could have been averted by the Winfield aid station captain. They should have been waiting for the race leader, there is always excitement when the leader is expected, and noticed he came from the wrong direction.

  • ff

    Brandon clearly states in the original post that the rules are a grey area and he doesn’t feel Rob needs to do anything, only that the race organizer needs to rule on it. If the sport continues to brush any negative or touchy things under the rug, it will continue to be a joke in real runners’ minds. it seems to want so badly to be taken seriously, yet any time an uncomfortable issue is raised, certain people seem to to feel personally threatened and lash out at the ones merely laying out the discussion that will help the “sport” evolve. The race organizer has ruled on it in a professional manner. Case closed. Lifetime Fitness is growing with ultrarunning and is learning lessons just like all of us. Good for them for addressing the problems from the last couple years and good for them for ruling on this topic and congratulations to Rob for winning the race.

  • Ben Bernanke

    STFU! You want to bitch about something – bitch about the crooked, corrupt organization that I once headed – “The Federal Reserve.” That “institution is the cause of ALL human suffering due to the rampant inflationary policies that destroy the lower classes and enrich the lazy “upper class” for just being “rich.” Rob Krar should run the world. You sir, are the only TAINT here.

  • Brett

    Brandon 1, LetsRun,com 0.

  • David T

    Spot on!

  • Terry Miller

    The race org made itself a joke with that decision. So, if he decided to do 25 miles of hill repeats on Powerline would he have won the race? I mean, that’s not the course or anything, but it’s harder, that’s what matters, right? Stupid.

    And a few points:

    I was at Winfield. There is no way for anyone there to tell what direction someone comes in from.

    He didn’t discuss it with anyone at Winfield. I was the first person to see him at the AS and he walked straight to his crew.

    No one else; no one, had trouble with the markings. No indication that they were sabotaged.

    No one told him to skip part of the course and that it would be ok.

    After I worked at the AS I paced someone back to Leadville. I wasn’t even racing, but I came up a couple weeks before and ran parts of the course, so I’d be familiar with them. That’s part of ultra running. You’re responsible to know the course and stay on it. Even if someone removes the markings. Which they didn’t, in this case.

    He clearly had the best run, and it’s a lousy situation. But this weak decision and the people who who support it are compromising the legitimacy of ultra running as a sport. It’s apparently the Leadville Fun Run, now. Why bother with chip timing, if you’re going to let people do whatever they want? Maybe we can spray neon on people and put mud pits at the race, too.

  • Scott Weber

    Didn’t run the course = can’t win the race. What’s the controversy?

  • John Clarke

    Leadville the town is a special place and the Leadville Race Series is a special race series. Having completed all the races in the series over the last few years including finishing my first LT100 Run this past weekend I have emotionally connected with the “Leadville family” as Merilee and Ken talk about in their pre and post race speeches. I also had the opportunity this past June to participate in the Leadville 100 Run Camp with the accompanying meetings, meals and socialization that goes around that. That experience solidified for me that RD Josh Colley is committed to maintaining the family atmosphere that Merilee and Ken started. Given this backdrop I am happy that Lifetime decided to keep Rob Krar as champion of this year’s race. True, by the letter of the law he did not follow the designated course and on that basis could certainly have been DQ’ed. However, I am pleased that Lifetime, likely in consultation with Merilee and Ken, decided to be flexible and bend the rules given the circumstances of the day. I, for one, do not want or need a rigid rules-based event with no flexibility like so many others out there. I love the family atmosphere that is Leadville and encourage others who have not experienced it to give it a try. You will be glad you did!

  • Doug from Ontario

    Brandon, it is ultimately the RD’s responsibility to make sure the race is marked properly, big deal Rob went of course and then hooked back up on course. I don’t seem to understand why you would bother making a big deal of this other than you are a “want to be”, claiming your “friends” were running behind Rob. How old are you, in your 30s? You sound like some bitter old man, that is pissed at the world. I’ve followed your blog on and off for awhile now, linked into from a Anton post years ago. Your post about Rob pissed me off because I hate shit like this especially from someone that isn’t an elite runner and just wants to stir shit up and feel like a big man.

  • Craig Redfearn

    So, is it tainted or not tainted? I don’t think it is but I guess someone jumped the gun on this story.

  • Terry Miller

    Incorrect. You can’t see which way someone comes from at Winfield.

  • Terry Miller

    Didn’t happen.

  • Brett

    With respect, nobody ‘jumped the gun’ on this story – this post ‘made’ the story. And again with all due respect to the haters, Brandon merely pointed out that he didn’t run the course. He didn’t say he should be disqualified or anything like that, just that the rules should be clarified. If you read all the posts up above, you will see why its important. What if Rob left the turnaround, realized he missed a turn on the way back up Hope, retraced his steps back down to correct his error, and then ran back up again? He could have easily lost another 10-20 minutes. What if someone behind him missed the turn, retraced their steps, but Rob didn’t? It was vitally important not to necessarily DQ Rob, but to make it clear what the correct actions should have been. While they didn’t quote completely clarify it, I would expect to see more detailed information in the race rules next year that says you must retrace your steps if you get off course. They got lucky this year that it didn’t have a bigger effect than it did.

  • Brett

    With all due respect, if you knew trail running, you would know why this is actually a big deal. Remember, Brandon wasn’t calling for someone to get DQ’d. But Rob didn’t do what he was supposed to do when he got off course. They got very lucky this year, so they needed to clarify the rules (you are supposed to retrace your steps if you get off course)…while they didn’t completely clarify that, I would bet it will be added to the rules next year just to be more clear. Imagine if Aish and Rob both missed the turn, Rob retraced his steps but Aish didn’t – it could have been a huge mess.

  • Craig Redfearn

    Thanks for the feedback Brett. Personally, I think “tainted” is a terrible word choice. I’ll stick with that. Hopefully they can mark the course a little better in future years and we can all move freely through it.