Recalling the words his wife spoke to him moments before the start of the 2014 Western States Endurance Run still gives Rob Krar goosebumps to this day.
“This is your f*cking day. Don’t let anyone take it away from you,” Krar’s wife, Christine Bauer, told her husband before he went on to win his first Western States title.
That first phrase serves as the foundation for a new film called “This Is Your Day,” a 50-minute documentary that features Krar, the defending champion, along with Caroline Boller, who is running her first 100-mile race after a quick ascension through the ultrarunning ranks, and Karl Hoagland, the publisher of Ultrarunning magazine and a seven-time Western States finisher, leading up to the 2015 edition of the iconic event.
The film, produced by USL.TV and directed and edited by Myles Smythe, chronicles each runner’s 100-mile journey from Squaw to Auburn and focuses on the commitment, sacrifice and support Krar, Boller and Hoagland receive from their respective families and crews leading up to, during and after the grueling all-day race.
“A huge part of our year is this race and it’s completely out of my control and all I’m doing it watching it,” Bauer says in the film. “We don’t talk (during the race). There’s really not a whole lot of interaction. To me, it’s just a moment of giving to the person I love and that’s rewarding in and of itself.”
Throughout the film, Krar, Boller and Hoagland discuss the impact the sport has had not only on them, but also on the lives of their families, whose support before, during and after the race is critical. Boller, a former full-time attorney who got into competitive running in the fall of 2012, balances being a wife and mother with her newfound life as a competitive athlete. She sees her training and racing as a positive example for her children that highlights the sacrifice and commitment that go into achieving a big goal. Hoagland, on the other hand, has been running ultras for 12 years and explains how his relationship with the sport has evolved and has changed his life in so many ways. He explains how ultrarunning allows him to be a good role model for his children, showing them that with persistence and dedication, anything is possible. Krar, who left his full-time job as a pharmacist following a wildly successful 2014 season, describes how ultrarunning has helped him wrestle with depression and provided him numerous opportunities to learn more about himself while also acknowledging the strain that training and racing could cause at times in his personal life.
“Training for 100 miles, especially Western States, is not an easy journey. I know there’s a lot of times where I could have been a much better person and husband to Christina,” Krar says at the beginning of the film. “It was a huge relief to have things work out the way they did because there’s a lot riding on the line. I couldn’t have done it without her.”
Smythe weaves in additional interviews and commentary from each runner’s significant others and crew and does a nice job documenting the race-day dynamic that exists between a runner and his or her supporters, from aid station assistance and idle chatter to finish line-euphoria and all manner of unbridled emotion. “This Is Your Day” quells the notion that ultrarunning is an individual sport and highlights the importance of the support structure that makes each athlete’s pursuit of the finish line possible.
The film premiered in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Aug. 19 and will next be shown in San Francisco on Sept. 19. Information on additional screenings taking place throughout North America can be found on USL.TV.