Jason Schlarb (Hoka One One) has excelled at trail ultramarathons since he made the transition off the roads and back onto the trails in 2010. In the following interview, find out a bit more about his running history, why he’s transitioned to the trails, and how the prospect of running his first 100 miler at the Run Rabbit Run 100 has him feeling.
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Jason Schlarb Pre-2012 Run Rabbit Run 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell here of iRunFar with Jason Schlarb at the inaugural Run Rabbit Run 100. How are you, Jason?
Jason Schlarb: I’m doing great.
iRF: We’ve chatted many times before, but this is the first time you’re doing an iRunFar interview.
Schlarb: It’s an honor. I’m very excited.
iRF: People have seen your results but might not know your running background. What is your running background?
Schlarb: I was a soccer player growing up. I switched over at the end of high school and walked-on at Montana State, a D-1 program. I managed to make the team and fell in love with running there. I really fell in love with trail running, but I always liked the competition and speed and how fast I could go. I always resisted because I thought trail running wasn’t competitive enough. Then low and behold after doing marathons for awhile, trail running is competitive, now, and fun. I can do both. I can have a good, competitive run and also be out in the mountains.
iRF: When did you make that transition? When did that light bulb go off?
Schlarb: 2010 was my last road race, October 1st, I believe. Then I did The North Face 50 that December, and I’ve never looked back.
iRF: You’ve got a big race here this weekend starting up that ski slope. It’s your first 100!
Schlarb: It is my first 100. I feel like I’m signed up for a completely different sport. I’m nervous. I’m anxious. I don’t know what that’s going to feel like—that second 50 miles. So, goal one is to finish. I’m definitely a little scared.
iRF: With so much money on the line, there’s definitely going to be some people taking it out tomorrow. What’s your approach to race day?
Schlarb: My approach is going to be to hang back. That’s always been my approach 95% of the time in any race whether it’s a 10k or a 50 mile. I like to pass. I don’t like to be passed. I also like to run as close to even splits as I can. I know in the 100, there’s a natural positive split thing going on that last 30 miles especially. I’m not going to be looking at the leaders at all to be honest with you. That first climb, which is probably the steepest it looks like, I have no shame. I’ll probably be power hiking some of that.
iRF: You’ve probably not run through the night a whole lot.
Schlarb: No, I’ve run about 45 minutes max in the dark. I did my first night run this week in Leadville around Twin Lakes at midnight just to see what it’s all about. I’m still scared about the boogie man, but we’ll see.
iRF: No pacers out there. You might want to hang with somebody out there.
Schlarb: No pacers and you have to run all night long.
iRF: You certainly will.
Schlarb: We’re starting at 1pm, so I’m kind of really diving into the 100-mile thing here I guess.
iRF: You sure are. You’ve been on a four-month-long road trip all over North America. What was that all about?
Schlarb: That was 10 years of Air Force and working hard and wanting to stop being a weekend warrior and just go out there and being in the mountains. I love being in the mountains; my wife does; my little boy does. So we picked up, sold everything, got a pick-up truck and a camper, and we’ve driven 12,500 miles in the last four months—Grand Canyon, British Columbia, Alberta, Wyoming, National Parks. It’s been awesome and fantastic.
iRF: So you’ve left the Air Force?
Schlarb: I’m out of the Air Force. I’m greasy, shaggy, and out of regulation. I’m really loving it.
iRF: Nice. Well, congratulations on the life changes and on your first attempt at the 100 miles.
Schlarb: Yeah, I’m looking forward to it.