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You Made it Weird: Jon Rea

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Ellie Pell

By: Ellie Pell

Ellie is an equal opportunity DMer with no shame in a cold call. She ran fast once and will remind you that it was before supershoes. Recently she set the FKT from her kitchen table to the fridge. Record pending drug test results.

It has been the year of Jon Rea. It’s honestly quite baffling that this gentleman flies so far under the radar. Jon wins or places near the top in every race he enters. His biggest accomplishment this year was taking 4th place at a massively competitive CCC after finishing his second Western States, once again in the top 20 (short of his ability). A super smart climate scientist, this guy also enjoys a nice game of pick-up basketball down at the local court. Maybe it’s part of his training, or maybe he just likes to maintain a somewhat normal life in a culture that increasingly wants to put individuals in small boxes. Oh did we forget to mention, he just won his THIRD golden ticket last weekend at the Javelina Jundred, taking 15 minutes off of Dakota Jones’ course record in 12:43:10… He did that too! Never again will this nerdy vegetarian go unnoticed. 

Find Jon on Instagram, Ultrasignup & Strava

Jon Rea running in 2023 for Hoka

Who are you and what do you do?

Jon Rea. I’m a Senior Associate at RMI, a non-profit energy think tank. I primarily work as a data engineer, evaluating electric utilities in the US. I assess whether companies are reducing carbon emissions fast enough to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C, and work on solutions that align their incentives through regulation, policy, or markets to reduce their future emissions. 2023 is my first year also trail running professionally, for HOKA.

Do any of your group chats have names? If so, what are you willing to share? How did they get that name? What is a major topic of discussion in them?

“Boulder Bitties.” Two of my closest friends who we lived with in Boulder but who moved away, plus partners. Gabby (aka “Ridgeline Gabby” aka “Gravel Gabby” aka ) mostly shares photos of himself posing like a supermodel. Rachel & Joe mostly flex in the gym. MP mostly comes up with words that include “slay” or “swag.” I mostly talk about things in person with Rachel then she shares it in the chat for me haha. Within an hour of being in this group, you’ll hear “you gotta eat big to be big,” “free fitness,” “#timetofly,” or “it’s Friday night, then Saturday Sunday what.”

If you could change one thing about your favorite social media platform, what would it be?

I don’t want to have to write activity comments in Strava, I want it to read my mind.

What is a book of fiction that you really enjoyed, for no other reason than you liked it?

The Song of Achilles. Greek mythology has so many epic stories.

What is one song you’ve been listening to on repeat recently?

An EDM mix compiled by a college friend. Oontz oontz oontz oontz.

What is one trend that started in 2020 that you love?

Sourdough bread.

What is one trend that started in 2020 that you hate?

Even more time online.

What are the last three emojis you used?

🫨🤣😀

What is the last thing you bought online?

A timely book titled “Foolproof”, about misinformation. Recommended by a colleague, and led to a work conversation about how confusing it is that people deny climate change despite the evidence. Explanations I got from the book include 1) people deny facts because of the policy implications that people don’t want to face, and 2) it’s valuable to be “socially accurate” among peers rather than solely “information accurate.”

Jon Rea after winning the 2023 Javelina Jundred

What is your most controversial food opinion?

It’s not hard to get protein from plants.

What three videos are at the top of your YouTube recommended homepage?

Allie O, Sally McRae, and a breakdown commentary of a play in the MLB playoffs.

Which Allie is your favorite?

My friends’ pit bull named Allie. Such a cuddler.

When you go home for the holidays, what is the food or tradition that it wouldn’t be the holidays without?

Cinnamon rolls that my mom makes every year, and now Rachel and I do too whenever we’re not with her!

When I say in-seam you say…?

Seems like a Courtney reference.

When has your ego caused you to do something you sort of regret but also would describe as wild and worth it?

I’ve run down Sanitas Ridge Trail, a super steep and technical trail in Boulder, as fast as possible three times. Two were successful, one time I fell so hard I couldn’t run for a week!

Or – I did a Crossfit workout thinking it’d be easy, and was sore for over a week!

What was your worst running fuel decision? What was the surprising best?

I tried eating gnocchi during a long run, potatoes are digestible right? But it was so so dry, made me choke. Needs sauce next time.

Thin mints might be my favorite running cookie.

What is your death row meal?

Peanut butter sandwich.

Out and back or looped course? Why?

For me, either way. I’ll just get into that racing flow state so it’s all good. For crew, loops. Allows for partying at headquarters.

Barkley or 24H track race? Why?

24hr. I’m more interested in pure athletics than navigation, orienteering, and sleep deprivation.

When I say PTRA you say? 

Such a powerful, important organization for the athletes in our sport.

When I say UTMB you say?

U try my bagels?

Jon Rea running for Hoka in 2023

What is one thing that absolutely scares you? Why?

My future self, looking back on my current self with regrets about how I decided to live my life, or the idea that I chose to spend my time doing things that aren’t important. I want to know that I did my best in my professional, athletic, and personal pursuits. But also approached them with love, care, and understanding rather than being greedy with too many goals or being unaware of what really matters. I’m not sure why – but I definitely spend a lot of time trying to make my future self proud of what I’m doing now.

What is a time you felt you didn’t measure up? How did you get through that?

Some people have so much confidence, charisma, and are so good in social settings. They’re just great to be around. My partner Rachel, brother Anthony and a few college friends come to mind. I wish I could be like them – but instead I’ll just appreciate the fact that they’re awesome and be glad I get to witness that awesomeness.

Who is another runner that flies under the radar that we should all get to know?

Brian Whitfield, from Colorado Springs. He has had most success around the 50k distance, and has run some super fast times at mostly local races in Colorado.

Or – Jeff Mogavero. He’s had great races for a while but in my opinion still doesn’t get hyped enough. His finish at the 2021 Run Rabbit Run was insane, something like a 36 minute 10k at the end of the race. Anyone who’s run that race before knows how painful that dirt road is!

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