In a short four-minute film (below) produced for the purpose of raising awareness for the proposed Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument in Arizona, ultra-runner Rob Krar provides an inner look at his personal struggles with depression and how ultra-running provides an outlet and ultimately life-changing experience.

While Rob is relatively new to the ultra-running scene, beginning in 2012, he is certainly very well known to fellow ultra-runners. He has already ticked notable wins at the prestigious Leadville 100, Western States 100 and set the fastest known times for the single and double crossings of the Grand Canyon. Rob met his future wife, Christina, while camping in the majestic Greater Grand Canyon area and in the film they share how their love and fondness for the wilderness helped grow their relationship.

As an ultra-runner, I can relate to how running these incredibly long distances is both a release and a burden. Being able to have that uninterrupted time to yourself in nature brings a sense of peace. At the same time the brutal fact of running these long distances requires you to handle the utter discomfort and highs and lows that will come with it. As Rob puts it, “I go to a dark place and I control the pain”. While some runners try to push the pain away, others embrace it and try to channel it into something positive. Ultra-running is very personal and I love that!

Running in open spaces that surrounds you with incredible vistas certainly does resonate deep within. And these triumphant views are certainly worth protecting. Christina accurately captures how special these wild spaces are, not only to our joy and well-being, but also to our soul when she describes their power as making “you can feel so connected to something but so small at the same time”.

As a former resident of Buena Vista I know how incredible it feels to have a place you call home be protected. Last year Browns Canyon received the designation of National Monument status enabling over 20,000 acres of pristine canyons, rivers and backcountry forest to be protected. It’s now our turn to support the National Sierra Club in their effort to designate the same protection upon the proposed Greater Grand Canyon lands. Take action by signing to petition at sc.org/grandcanyonheritage.