So Far. So Good.

Arizona Highways (February 2023) by Kelly Vaughn


Well, kind of. It’s midafternoon on a Thursday, and we’re running a segment of the Arizona Trail near the San Francisco Peaks. Krar detours into the woods. So, I am — if only briefly — outpacing one of the world’s elite endurance athletes.

Within seconds, though, I hear him, footfalls so delicate I think he must really be gliding. And as he moves in front of me again, I realize he is.

Because that’s what he does.

Although Flagstaff is Krar’s home and training ground, it’s the 41.2 miles he ran 74 miles away, at the Grand Canyon, for which he’s best known.

And maybe his own words best explain his pull to the place. He wrote them shortly after he completed what stood for more than three years as the fastest known time — 6 hours, 21 minutes, 47 seconds — from rim to rim to rim at the Canyon.

It took some time for the many emotions to settle and organize in my mind. Collecting myself, I walked to the rim, just like I had begun, taking a few moments to stand and look over the Canyon and reflect on the enormity of the effort, the power of the Canyon washing over me once again. I thought about the journey my running and life have taken the past few years, from meeting my partner in the mountains of Colorado, to injury, then surgery, and a recovery so long I doubted I’d ever run gentleman’s pace with friends again, let alone race and compete. I thanked the Canyon for gifting me with near-flawless conditions, sure the stars would not align so perfectly for me again.

Since then, Krar has visited the Grand Canyon often, both to advocate for its protection — he’s a major proponent of the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument, which would ban uranium mining on the public lands that surround the national park — and to train.

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