Interview Nr. 9 · mit Jason George

gefragt von James Zürcher


When and where did you began running?

My first athletic passion was the bicycle and while I was in university almost 35 years ago, I started by riding long distances: I have ridden my bicycle across the USA, to Mexico, to Alaska and many other places. Those trips, sometimes for a few weeks or for a few months, led to many great memories. Slowly I became interested in racing my bicycle and this led to triathlons and running.

I haven’t been running continuously for 35 years. There were periods in my life when I pursued other activities and interests and didn’t run very often. But since returning to Basel in 2011 and joining BRC, running is once again my passion.


Which were your personal highlights in running / at competitions?

I ran my first marathon in 1986 in Washington DC and will never forget how unprepared I was. After that, I moved to Boulder, Colorado in the mountains (home of Olympic Marathon winner Frank Shorter). Boulder is where many top athletes go to train because of the elevation, top coaching and very good competition. It was there that I raced the Bolder-Boulder (a famous 10km in the US) several times and really got serious about running and triathlons. Other more recent running highlights include the Berlin Marathon (2016) because the support and organization was so good, and because I got my marathon PB there. Sierre-Zinal (2017) was an epic mountain run unlike anything that I have ever done before…32km with 2,150HM (thanks to Brian Lang for the entry).


Please tell me about your goals in running concerning events/runs and/or running times (sub xxx).

I enjoy training with friends. At the same time, I take my training seriously (I have collected several “yellow cards” from Rainer for being a little bit too serious) and like to set goals for myself. My goals for this year are to run the Boston Marathon (16.04.2018) and Berlin Marathon (16.09.2018). I would also like to do one or two Half-Ironman triathlons (1.9km swim – 90km bike – 21.1km run). My goals for 2018 are perhaps overly ambitious given the amount of training required (especially the bike) and the time away from family and other interests. Of course I also have a job that requires time (sometimes too much)!!

Longer-term, I would really like to run all six of the World Marathon Majors. It would also be fun to run a marathon on every continent.


How did you get to the BRC? Why did you join this running club?

I was running with the Basel Dragons for a while when I returned to Basel, but realized that I wanted a club with members who were a bit more committed to running, so I joined LSVB and benefitted immensely from the coaching and advice that Rainer and others offered me. When BRC was born, I followed my friends to the new club and I have enjoyed being a part of it since the first day.


What do you like most about the BRC?

This is easy…the friendship. I am a foreigner living in Switzerland and working for an international organization, but I want to be a part of the local community. Everyone in BRC has been so friendly; the more experienced runners have shared tips and advice with me and I have been included in all of the activities despite my poor language abilities.

Two stories help to illustrate how important BRC is to me. First, when I was preparing for the Lausanne Marathon last year, Luki was very generous with training advice. But what I will never forget is that on the day of the marathon, he surprised me by arriving at the warm-up area for the marathon to support me and other BRC runners who were doing the half-marathon. The second story occurred in 2016 when I showed up a few minutes late for the start of Lucerne HM. I began running and trying to pass people, but it was too difficult to run my normal pace. After a few kms, I saw Anja and decided to relax and run with her. After being stressed about being late for the start, it was great to enjoy the run, the scenery, the people and to support Anja…thanks for sharing the run with me.


What’s your favorite competition distance and why?

I am not a sprinter – maybe I am too old – so longer distances are better for me, particularly the half-marathon and marathon distance. Also, I did a few mountain runs last year (Aletsch Half-Marathon and Sierre-Zinal) and those were great fun (and difficult)!! This year I will run the Zermatt Marathon relay with Serena. UTMB might be fun someday (Dani, I will need your help!!)


Which other sports do you practice and how often?

I love the outdoors, so almost anything that gets me in the nature is good. In addition to running and riding the bicycle, I like to hike, scuba dive and although I don’t have much time for sailing at the moment, I do enjoy the peacefulness of being on a Swiss lake (Thunersee is one of my favourites) with the mountains around me.


Is there a running competition you would recommend to the members of the BRC family?

I know that this will surprise some people, but if I were to recommend just one competition, it would be Sierre-Zinal, also known as “la course des cinq 4000”. Described by many people as one of the most beautiful mountain runs in the world, it is truly a “bucket list” run. The Rhône Valley town of Sierre is where you start and the run begins with a steep 7km climb. After that, the climbing becomes much easier and the route is even flat for quite a few kilometers before descending steeply into Zinal, 32kms away from where you started. The trail is so beautiful because you are running in the mountains and for most of the time, you have great views of the “cinq 4000”: the Weisshorn, Obergablehorn, Dent Blanche, Zinalrothhorn, and the Matterhorn.

This year’s run takes place on 12.08 and registration opens on 02.04. Don’t miss it!


Since when do you run / do you start in running competitions?

I think that it was in 1985 when I first started to become interested in running and later that year I competed in my first 10km race. Since then I have been hooked and I have my race bibs from all of my competitions. It is great to look at them and think about the memories…in the past few years BRC is a very good part of those memories.