Chris’ journey

May 25, 2018

Whilst making leaps and bounds in the architecture & construction world, Chris Jacobson is now set to tackle the majestic high country beauty and crucible of the Californian canyons. Though it was always a dream of Chris’ to venture into a job where he could draw for a living, he grew up amongst the clowns and acrobats of the Circus, as a lion tamer who knew his way around a whip. Fast forward 20 years or so {just a rough guess… thanks for the chocolate Chris} and Paynters have recruited an outstanding, forward thinking Design Manager that is now taking on the world, one run at a time (think Forest Gump but much faster, I assume…)

In a few short weeks Chris will head over to California to complete The Western States ™ 100-mile Endurance Run, the world’s oldest 100-mile race. As a newcomer to this particular race it is considered a once in a lifetime opportunity with only 400 people from around the globe handpicked to participate. I recently sat down with Chris to talk everything design, trail running & of course the circus.

Tell me about your time within the Circus, how did you land that gig?
Well, it really started with my dad. My brother and I joined a kid’s circus where my dad built equipment for the circus & we performed. It wasn’t until we wanted to join an adult circus and go on the road, my brother went but I wasn’t allowed, I was too young. They all went on to perform in some great Circus’ across Australia. Career opportunity missed….

Give me a bit of background about how you got into Design/Architecture?
Went to Uni in Tassie. Pretty much always wanted to be an Architect. Was actually going to join the Military as an Engineer but moved into Architecture instead, it seemed way cooler!

Given that you spent most of your childhood in the circus as an acrobat you’re obviously gifted with athletic ability. When did you start getting into running/cycling? 
When I first moved to Brisbane in 2012 I joined a gym that also had a triathlon club. The guy that ran the club approached me and could tell that I wasn’t really suited for a gym but would probably enjoy running long distance. I also started getting into cycling to keep up with the other triathletes – when I noticed that Paynters had an elite team of competitive cyclists. Being hugely competitive I felt compelled to join. I’ve made some great mates through training for events & enjoy the friendly banter that it brings when competing with work colleagues, building office moral.

Was it always a goal of yours to commence competitive running? Marathons? 
Yes, definitely, once I got going! I would race and improve my time with each race. In all honesty though, triathletes tend to be a little pretentious. I also quickly realized swimming wasn’t much fun. Thus Marathons and running seemed a sensible alternative. The runs just got longer and longer…….

Tell me about the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run (161km’s). 
It’s the oldest 100-mile race in the world and well recognised. Only a small number of people are either chosen or qualify and then go into a random draw (basically like the lottery) to be chosen. If you complete the race in under 30 hours you receive a bronze belt buckle or a sub 24-hour finisher’s silver belt buckle.

It’s my understanding that only a very small amount of people are selected for this race. How did you get the call up? 
So I qualified for the random draw after completing the Blackhall 100km race last year. I posted a time just under 11 hours. You have something like a 2.8% chance of being drawn (from 4909 applicants in 2018) for the Western States 100-mile. My name was drawn, and it will probably never happen again!

The countdown is on, with the race in 29 days, are you prepared?
The countdown is certainly on! 4 weeks left until race time. In leading up to the race I competed in France last year. This race, the Trail du Roc de la Lune Ultra du Pas Du Diable, loosely translates to “In the footsteps of the devil”. It was steep compared to Australian runs with about 6500m of elevation over 120km. Just to put that in perspective, the Mt Cootha loop is about 250m (for European standards it was one of the flatter events!). This race took me about 22 hours to complete. I’ve also had the pleasure of racing in New Zealand this year in a 100-mile. A great international race where I finished in the top 10, which I was very happy about.
Am I prepared? You’re never prepared. It starts at the top of a mountain so there is always a chance of altitude sickness. You just do the best that you can do! There’s an old saying “If you can’t go fast, go long!” That’s what I’ll be trying to achieve.

Anything in the pipeline? Any long term goals with regards to competitive running? 
I’ll be back doing the Blackhall 100 towards the end of the year. Ideally, the ultimate goal would be to complete a 6 day event either in Western Australia and maybe Queensland if they ever host one.

Everyone here at Paynters wishes Chris all the best for this race & hope he smashes his time out of the park! For more information regarding The Western States ™ 100-mile Endurance Run head to