Jason Schlarb – Service, Adventure, and Ultra-Endurance

Jason Schlarb is a champion ultrarunner whose notable achievements include winning the Hardrock 100 (2016) and Run Rabbit Run 100 (2013 & 2015), as well as finishing as the top American in the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (4th place, 2014). He is also an accomplished adventurer who, among other things, has skied the entire Hardrock 100 course in winter and explored remote regions of Patagonia and New Zealand, all while filming his exploits and then creating engaging, authentic films though his company Schlarb-Wolf Productions.  Most impressively, Jason is a veteran who served for 10 years as an officer in the United States Air Force, which included a five-month deployment to Iraq and his earning the rank of Major.


Jason Schlarb

A competitive soccer player for most of his youth, Jason made the switch to running relatively late in the game when he joined the cross country team as a high school senior. But his natural talent for endurance combined with a relentless competitive streak allowed him to walk on to a Division I cross country team, where he excelled throughout his college career. After years of focusing exclusively on road races ranging from 10Ks to marathons, he made the switch to trail running and has never looked back. Jason, his wife Maggie, and son Felix have shaped their lives around the pursuit of a purpose-driven, rewarding, and adventurous lifestyle, and they currently reside on the southern end of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, just outside of Durango.

Jason is a fascinating guy with an infectiously positive attitude, which made for a fun and in-depth conversation. We cover a broad range of topics, including his athletic background, his journey to ultrarunning, and some of his adventures around the world.  We discuss his time in the military and how those 10 years of service affect his outlook and approach to sports and life. We chat about his thoughts on competition, mental toughness, and the benefits of positive thinking. Whether you’re an athlete or not, there are huge amounts of wisdom to be gleaned from Jason’s experiences and perspective.

This was a fun conversation and I really appreciate Jason taking the time to chat.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Photo courtesy of Jason Schlarb – Top photo by Eduardo Castro

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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed

2:48 – How Jason describes his work
4:05 – The Hardrock 100
6:30 – Hardrock 100 course and the San Juan Mountains
10:00 – Jason’s early life, growing up as an athlete
12:30 – Transition from soccer to running
13:45 – Balancing competition against others with competition against himself
15:24 – College running career
18:00 – Benefits of a tough college coach
18:35 – Transition from college to the US Air Force
20:00 – Motivations for joining the military
21:10 – Experiences in the military
21:50 – Deployment in Iraq
22:40 – Life post-military
23:30 – Transition to trail running
25:45 – Biggest surprise during Jason’s first ultra
27:00 – Military lessons applied to running
30:20 – Mental aspects of running 100 milers
34:35 – Jason’s transition to a positive, smiling mental approach
38:20 – Maggie Schlarb’s influence on Jason’s training
39:50 – Coaching a positive mindset
41:40 – The appeal of endurance sports
42:45 – Jason’s annual adventures and films—Skiing the Hardrock, New Zealand, etc.
48:45 – Thoughts on conservation
53:00 – Favorite books
55:00 – Favorite films
57:20 – Fight Club and thoughts on the origins of Jason’s lifestyle
1:01:20 – Most powerful outdoor experiences
1:05:30 – Jason’s request of the listeners
1:07:50 – Connect with Jason online

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