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Jason Loutitt – Elite Athlete, Ultra Marathoner, Personal Trainer
C A 1 2 3 4 5 Sponsored Athlete
With a special contribution from Jason’s “forward”, section of his book of poetry, “Falling Within’ Ourselves”, soon to be released.
One of the things that impresses me the most about some elite athletes is their humility.
Over the years competing as an age-group runner & triathlete, I have been very fortunate to have met and become friends with some of the best! Canadian legend Carey Nelson (whom we profiled last year), local athletes Rob Watson, Dylan Wykes, Rachel McBride and Meb Keflezighi who I met at the Athens Marathon in 2014, all stick out in my mind as seriously accomplished athletes who share very unique and humble personalities. They also share a great sense of humour which I find rather refreshing in such a competitive profession.
When Jason Loutitt contacted me through Facebook, I have to admit I didn’t know who he was but only that we shared a number of friends through the running community. He was looking for sponsorship and was very interested in our bamboo athletic wear.
On a trip to Calgary in early February, I had some extra time between appointments, so did a little research on Jason and his RunningThroughMountains (RTM) website where he offers personal training and other inspiration to aspiring athletes.
WOW! I was really impressed with his accomplishments especially after watching the video of him placing 2nd in the 2011 Run Connemara 70K IAU Trail World Ultra Championships. Rather than rattle off his impressive race times I invite you to get to know this very special man. There is much more to this slight built, lean vegetarian ultra runner. He has suffered adversity like many of us but has risen from the ashes with a gentle poetic humility that will no doubt bring him future success as a runner, philosopher, personal trainer and friend.
Once we had worked out the logistics and agreed to sponsor Jason, he would run over to our studio to try on the custom garments and then continue for a longer run or back to work. He pretty much “runs”, everywhere all the time.
We recently saw him in action at the Chuckanut50KUltra Trail run in Fairhaven, WA, where he placed 4th overall and won top Masters Runner. Up against the top three men in their 20’s, Jason at 40 years old had a personal best of 3:53:40 … in sandals!
Jason refers to himself as a “monkey”, when testing athletic gear; a term used by his other sponsors Vega, Compressport & Luna Sandals.
We are very fortunate to be teaming up with Jason; not only is he a local athlete but he is helping us develop a functional line of ultra running gear for CA12345. We have chosen the colours OrangeUHappy, HoundGrey & RacerRed for Jason’s gear to represent his sense of humour, humility, intense desire and fire to win. We think Jason looks amazing in our gear and we look forward to seeing him in action this year!
I put together a few questions for Jason:
What interested you in representing our products? “Being a small start-up company incorporating natural products with bamboo and using creative designs.”
What do you like about the garments you have worn so far and what garments were they? “Honestly wanted to live, eat, sleep and breathe in bamboo. I have used the SpeedDemon long sleeve, MarathonMan short sleeve & the GeoCache Hoody (sold out until summer 2015). I wore the RoadWarrior singlet ArmAGetIns & UltraRunner shorts at the Chuckanut50K”. Also the LoutittBrainFreeze beeni (both available late Spring 2015)
How long have you been a competitive runner? “16 yrs of running transitioned from military running, local racing, to university running and then into national team representation.”
How long have you been running ultra distance and what was your farthest race distance? “My first ultra was a 100miler in 2010. That has been the longest distance with 3 more of the 100s done since then.”
Do you prefer road or trail running and why? “Trail running hands down due to having to let go in order to connect more to nature.”
How far do you currently run in a week? “Highest mileage was 170 miles a week. Average during correct build up is 120 miles a week. I try to focus more on time and feeling.”
What are your next races? SunRun Apr 19, BMO Vancouver Marathon May 3, Canadian 100k Champs May 10 at Elk Lake, 2015 Trail Running Ultra Championships May 30 in Annecy, France & Ultra Trail in Mt. Fuji, Japan, September 25 ”.
What are your race goals for 2015? “Contend in every race, run some PBs and win a championship race or two.”
What do you for fun other than run? “Yoga, poetry, art, philosophy, music”
You mentioned you have overindulged with alcohol/ drugs? How did it impact your life? How did it impact your training & racing? “All things impacted each other. Being willing to see what I am made of and what I am capable of in forgoing comfort and having to pick myself up over and over and over has made me who I am. I now choose to apply my knowledge clearly with connection to things I always held more important but lost momentary respect for. Trying to get any unnatural perspective only has me living with some of the losses that come from that life and not being able to help others as much as I could have, can and should be able to. I am working on that and my life is now taking off.”
Are you sober now? How long? “Clear is now an only way for me and I do not remember last losing myself and like it that way.”
Did you hit rock bottom? If so, how did you climb back out? “I have more times than fathomable. Pushing that edge made me very familiar for what to reach for inside to find a way to focus and apply myself positively.”
When did you get involved with KidSafe and why? “We all need support, so to be able to help those who care about our development as children with unlimited potential is something I care about.”
You recently became a personal trainer. How do you find time to train other people when you must be logging long hours of training yourself? “I love being a Personal Trainer and helping others. By helping others, I am also helping myself as my training time is diversifying.”
Since you started only running and racing in 1999, do you have any experience coaching others? “Along with being a Certified Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor, I am also a Level 2 NCCP Distance Coach and have coached over 1200 runners from newbie’s to advanced since 2002. I have had the pleasure of things such as seeing runners progress from not being able to run more than 5min at a time to now doing multiple ultra marathons a year. My experience has also enabled me to present on television many times about running and training, as well as be selected to coach national Team Diabetes marathoners internationally in the past. All told, I have done hundreds of presentations to groups from very small up to 140 about run training topics on a weekly basis. Having some come up and say I made a difference for them is my reward!”
Most Elite Athletes have coaches but you train yourself and have done exceptionally well. What motivates you to push so hard and how do you stay injury free? “Since I was 7, I wanted to know how, why and feel that connection to being the best I could be. As I got older and started to focus on training, I wanted to take ownership of something in my life to perhaps apply and see how far I could take it. My need to find a guide or teacher has always been held in respect but I knew I must find that inside before I may seek it outside. Now I am allowing myself to accept that the seeking was for the teacher that I am and can be for others.”
Jason & Shouken
“To Run, To Fall, To See, To Rise”. ~ by Jason Loutitt
“It seems like the true essence of what I would call an important life is found outside the noise, toys or relationships to the ant hill of society and those who deem to think they know what is good for it. All I know is that I do not know. If we have had such leadership prioritize our world’s management to get it to the point of environmental, economic and social collapse then just how good is perspective? Instead, some semblance of peace to me is found in a deeper connection outside of the pulls and angst that this world has become. Somehow returning to nature seems to be a huge priority for me, instead of nurturing and catering to how I see myself fit into this fractured puzzle of a world. Running is my time for this appreciation and somehow, I can feel life appreciating me connecting in this manner. Any part of alienation that was tagged onto my picture is cut and so I also let go of the “me” that also got my own environmental, economic and social existence to the point to collapse hundreds of times in these past 41 yrs. Perhaps what I thought I was paying attention to on the outside was indeed what was going on inside. If the reverse is true, then maybe this funny guy is now running the right race in the right way.
I would like to say that my time has me only patient, understanding, compassionate and positive all the time instead of jaded, guarded, self destructive and without passion; but I truly can’t. The only other thing I know is that the true heroes are the ones who dared question the norm and put themselves out there to make some difference. To live life like this is to take on much difficulty and having to find some way of coping with it to get by. Weakly taking to self destruction, for me as the most viable way to cope without harming others, in the end just brought about cycles of further self harm by having so much regret, shame and hurt from feeling like the most foolish entity in existence. The living with nothing for many years and needing scars to have a correct perspective was a choice I made when I was 9 to try to be someone who could see below the surface of things as they are. Many of those ‘I can make life tougher for me’ choices were in fact seen as the only option out of dealing with strife, messy parental relationships and other negative generational coping choices. In fact, fear of true self love, guided this once troubled soul to try to hide from what it can’t and so spend valuable time living in the often pointless pursuit of cognitive dissonance and interpreting the value of what once was. This perspective once attached itself to my spirit to keep it entertained without sacrifice; the sacrifice of simply moving on.
So I now move on without needing to explain away how I came to be but that along the way, even when lost in self abuse, I was still seeking for some semblance of hope, understanding and love that sometimes was wrongly considered found with unclear eyes. I would get so into my addiction in trying to connect to what was still good in some way as a feeling of it being important but of course, also to cover up that I was currently throwing everything in my life away by spending every last cent I had and not communicating with anyone aside from those I would meet on my lost path. For everyone in this life, it will always take the last time for getting a lesson ingrained. Even the holding onto the lesson as a valuable guide is in some way still holding onto ‘The Last Time’ so in a way, it isn’t done yet. To see with fresh eyes that what was seen in moments of challenge, pain, loneliness is part of what those fresh eyes are made of in being humbling, loving and tender.
I know the feeling of being so close to all in my life being over and nothing being left, that empathy towards all demographics and types of people resonates through what I hold important in is life. If this journey, like a run, is without its end point of a crossed finish line that allows one to accept all before it as now complete, then the alternative seems to be found in each step. Being light, loving, loved, focused, strong, supportive and capable; to me is both the impetus and result of simply taking a single step towards getting back up in this life; fully committed with a tender heart seeing through fresh eyes that a renewed hopeful soul has decided to move on to better days. Moving on out of new respect for ourselves and because of this, for every single other form of energy in everyone’s lives. Namaste to those who allow themselves to open to this clear accepted path. I now accept this way as my identity for the rest of my delicate and grateful time with you. I do still say “Namaste”, to those not fully moved on but for those spirits, please trust from one who has sacrificed that the self sacrifice in such a manner is not the only way you may have your say against what you feel is wrong in the world. You deserve more. It is my hope that we all may run on to learn together in our own way, while also forever cherishing the rising of others”.