When you’re a professional ultrarunner, a 50-kilometer race may seem like a lap around the park. But what if you were asked to travel 8,000 miles on a 16-hour plane ride to run a 50-kilometer race in just two weeks? Well, if you’re Jason Schlarb, you quickly accept.
Schlarb, a Julbo-sponsored ultrarunner, won September’s Run Rabbit Run, a 100-mile race in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Since breaking the course record, he has been taking a break and spending time with his wife and little boy. But the other day, he received a call from Julbo’s CEO, Nick Yardley.
“He called and asked, ‘How would you like to go to Hong Kong?’” relayed Schlarb. “How could I turn that down? I said okay and that was that.” It was two weeks before the event.
The event is the MSIG Lantau 50 – Hong Kong in Lantau, Hong Kong, where the popularity in ultrarunning and trail running has skyrocketed. Some of these events hosted in Asia draw thousands of spectators, very akin to racing in Europe, versus the United States. Thankfully, the climate is also warmer, something that many European and American ultrarunners seek.
When asked how his race rituals would differ from his usual routine, Schlarb said nothing would really change. “I have a call with my meditation-visualization consultant. He calms me down and talks me through the coming race. He gives me a mantra, which will keep me running for all 50 kilometers.”
Mostly, though, he’s excited about exploring Hong Kong. Never having been to Asia, Schlarb said he’s excited for the food. “I can’t wait to see it. I have this image of what it will look like, but I think I’m going to be surprised,” he said. “I want to wander through street markets and try to not get lost.”
After this race, Schlarb plans to come home for another month before jetting off to Patagonia for two weeks. He is running 100 kilometers around Torres del Paine, one of the ‘best’ trails in the world, with one of his best friends. “It is the most badass trail. I cannot wait,” he said, giddily. “And we’re taking a friend that is going to make a documentary about it. So watch out for that in the future!”