Jason Schlarb, a former officer in the Air Force, recently completed his second 100-mile race ever at Run Rabbit Run in Steamboat, Colorado. This would be impressive, but perhaps not newsworthy, except that Schlarb won the race. He even broke the course record, completing the 103-mile run in just 17 hours and 15 minutes. The newest Julbo athlete took a few minutes to answer some questions from his home in Missoula, Montana, where he is studying for his doctorate in physical therapy at the University of Montana.
JULBO: How did you get into ultrarunning?
JASON SCHLARB: I was a soccer player, but switched to running at the end of high school. When I want to Montana State, I walked onto the D1 track and cross-country program. I’ve always loved the trails, but the sport wasn’t really competitive when I was competing in the early 2000s, so I stuck to road running and marathons.
I ran road at the semi-pro level for a while, until someone convinced me to try an ultrarunning race in San Francisco in 2010. Since then, I’ve never gone back to road! It’s cool to watch the way the sport has exploded and the road guys who have made the switch.
JULBO: How did you tackle Run Rabbit Run?
JS: Last year’s Run Rabbit Run was my first 100-mile race ever, but running that race did not feel good. I was really up and down, until I took a wrong turn and ran seven miles in the wrong direction. It stunk and I ended up dropping. But before that wrong turn, I was in second.
This year, I came back, had an awesome day and got that win! It was actually only my second 100-mile completion.
JS: The ultra world is still so new. Certain people run 50 kilometers; some run 100 miles. Others run steep mountains, while some like rolling trail running. We all get grouped into one, but we all have our own separate skill sets. But there are around 15 guys who are at the elite pro running level and we all see each other nationally and internationally.
I try and do workouts with Mike Wolf in Missoula once in a while, which is great. But the sport is not like road running – it’s a small, laid back community. It’s competitive, but there really isn’t trash talking.
JULBO: Where do you
|Run Rabbit Run - Photo: Matt Trappe Photography|
JS: After I moved from Boulder, Colorado last year, I traveled and trained through North America for the summer and then went to New Zealand for the winter. I spent five months circumnavigating the south island, hiking and playing. I was pretty worn out in the spring, though and had a rough start to my season.
In general, I do a couple of long runs a week – two hours at the minimum, eight to nine hours maximum – and a hard vertical climb. I always make sure to have enough recovery days, as well.
JULBO: What do you do when you’re not training for races?
JS: I’ve been a skier all of my life; I usually try and get 40 to 50 days on snow. I also white water kayak, backpack and mountain bike for fun/alternative training.
JS: A good chunk didn’t go into fun and exciting things; I put it into savings. But my wife, my two-year-old son and I are going to go to Europe next summer and live out of a camper. We’re going to travel the Alps, run around and play. I’m also planning on running the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and the Laveredo while there. I’m super excited!