Leadville: The Controversy That Wasn’t

Rob Krar Leading Early at Leadville photo credit: Glen Delman

Rob Krar in the Lead Early at Leadville
photo credit: Glen Delman

Rob Krar won Leadville in 16:09:31. It was the second fastest winning time ever and he won the race by nearly 30 minutes. Once he took the lead, the race was never in doubt.

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However… shortly after the race, a runner/blogger named Brandon Fuller called into question Rob’s GPS data. Now, let’s not go crazy here. This is not Rosie Ruiz. Basically, Brandon just pointed out that Rob’s GPS data did not match the course on Strava. In fact, as Brandon pointed out, Rob ran an extra mile and the section he did was more difficult than the official course. Post-race, Rob admitted to missing a turn – he actually ran the 2012 course.

Ultrarunner (and diplomat?) Ian Sharman, who was not far behind Rob at the time, stated:

“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.”

Rob Did Not Finish In 15:XX But His Watch Battery Did

Rob Did Not Finish In 15:48 But His Watch Battery Did

Apparently, Brandon’s post gained a little traction because the Leadville Race Series issued a response. They stated:

“Upon review, the event management team has determined that the announced 2014 Leadville Trail 100 Run winner, Rob Krar, encountered inadequate race course 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.”

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I think Leadville handled the situation perfectly. Of course, the facts favored an easy resolution. Rob ran extra on a more difficult course and he won by nearly thirty minutes.

However, the facts won’t always be this favorable. Next up for Rob is Run Rabbit Run. There is a $50,000 prize purse that includes $12,000 for 1st place and $4,000 for second place. Let’s just hope everyone stays on course so tough decisions don’t have to be made.

What do you think about this situation? Would you have resolved it differently?

Have you ever gone off-course in a trail (or road) race?

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9 Responses to Leadville: The Controversy That Wasn’t

  1. Jennifer says:

    Hi! I just started following your blog!
    What do you think about this situation? Would you have resolved it differently? I agree, Leadville handled it appropriately. Yes, he went off course, but he did an extra mile and had more difficult terrain to negotiate. If he would have taken a short cut, well, that would have been a different story.

    Have you ever gone off-course in a trail (or road) race? ALL THE TIME!

  2. piratebobcat says:

    Interesting. I was leading a 5k once and got turned the wrong way (the course wasn’t marked at all – it was a smaller race). But my buddy won the Cowtown Marathon the other year despite getting sent a mile or so in the wrong direction. He had to double back and still won!

    • Jason says:

      Sweet! I’m pretty sure most races will not DQ you as long as you double back – good for him. Um *cough* were you able to double back and win too?

  3. marathonsam says:

    That is so awesome that Rob Krar made it harder for himself and still totally annihilated the competition! I lose the trail all the time when I’m hiking: that’s where the best adventures are! I’ve never veered off course in a running race, but I definitely lost the pavement markings on a century ride once.

  4. Hollie says:

    I ran a 5k once that ended up being around 7k for me…a 1k for some walkers and 3k for some people and the leaders ran around 8k. It was pretty ridiculous. I think they handled it appropriately. Like said if he ran too little or an easier area it would have been different. But where do we draw the line? For some people hills might be easier. I don’t know honestly but I do think they handled it well.

  5. pauldburton says:

    I did something similar in a bike ride once. They put a turn off half way down a fast hill on an open course and the person that was supposed to be marking it went for a coffee break… I led about 20 people off the wrong way for three miles. Then I realised something was wrong and led them all back to the route, gathering more as we went. I really wanted to give the Marshall a bollocking but ‘what can you do’, eh?

  6. That’s really interesting! At least the mistake solidified his win and didn’t cause a huge controversy about who deserved the prize. That’s insane that he still won by 30 minutes! I’ve never had problems following courses but I bet if I ran a trail course it’d be a totally different story.

  7. Cassy says:

    I’ve gone off course due to bad markings a couple of times. I think it’s really easy to do especially with smaller races or trail races. At least he ended up running longer than the intended distance so the decision was pretty easy!

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