What: “Unbreakable: The Western States 100”
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St.
More info: thedairy.org/events
Local ultrarunner and University of Colorado grad student Anton Krupicka loves to run. Far, and hard. In fact, every day, the Nebraska native runs up Bear Peak and Green Mountain, sometimes twice.
Krupicka is one of four athletes profiled in “Unbreakable: The Western States 100,” a film about the grueling 100-mile trail race in California’s Sierras in 2010 that’s showing at the Dairy Center for the Arts Thursday (sold out) and Friday night (tickets still available as of Monday).
Krupicka will be there for a Q&A session following the show. But earlier this week, we asked Krupicka for a Q&A about the race, his minimalist approach to mountain running and his post-graduation plans:
Q: What are you studying at CU?
A: I’m working on a masters in geography…. What I work on is mountain hydrology. My thesis work is on this abandoned silver mine in Creed, Colorado, in the San Juans. My task has been to try to understand what the hydrology of the watershed…. Clean water’s flowing into the mine, getting contaminated and flowing out of the porthole.
Q: What are you going to do after you graduate?
A: Run. (He laughs.) It’s been an issue in grad school. This is my third year — I should’ve been done last spring. My commitments and my support from New Balance have increased since 2010, so school has been hard to focus on.
Q: You’re known for a minimalist approach. Have you been caught out in bad weather wearing nothing but shorts and shoes?
A: Yeah, it happens from time to time, usually in the summer. Most of the running I do is in the mountains, and the weather changes quickly there. My whole philosophy is, because I’m running and I have the fitness and can move over the terrain, I can get off the mountain fast. …I’ve been out in the summer in just a singlet and shorts and shoes and gotten hailed on or snowed on, but you just drop down into the trees and you’re usually fine.
This goes along with it too — in situations like that, of course you’re wet and a little cold, but I don’t go out into the mountains to be comfy and cozy like I’m sitting by a fireplace. That’s not why I go running every day, to be as comfortable as possible. I’m very used to dealing with low-grade suffering.
Q: Is that what you’re dealing with in an ultra race?
A: It’s more high-grade suffering the second half. It hurts a lot for a long, long time. The first 60 miles of a 100 miler are pretty reasonable, comfortable even. They need to be to finish a race like that.
You get to 60 and you’re like, how am I supposed to run another 40 miles? It becomes a mental game then, which is part of what’s so compelling about it.
Q: Does “Unbreakable” give an accurate portrayal of your life as a runner, and the race that year?
A: Very much so, 100 percent. It’s super authentic. There’s no artificial drama. JB (Benna) represented each of the characters as accurately as possible.
Q: Is it hard to watch? In the 2010 race, you were leading until Geoff (Roes) passed you with 12 miles to go.
A: There’s a three- or four-minute segment that it’s hard to watch.
They’re showing Geoff — it’s obvious he has this different level of intensity… then it cuts to me, and I’m still moving well, but not as feverish, not as frantic. He was hunting, and I was the one being hunted.
But the thing is I was really satisfied with my run that day. We both ran almost a half an hour under the course record. I still feel like it was my best 100-mile race. I’ve won four or five others, but I feel like this was my best on pure performance.