Runner, not only
In conversation with Max Jolliffe
Running Technology campaign runner, Max Jolliffe, sat down with us at an immensely safe social distance (across the globe) to tell us about himself and the activities that shape his lifestyle and outlook.
Can you give us a short bio?
Hi, my name is Max Jolliffe, I’m 28 years old. I’m from Newport Beach, CA and I grew up surfing and skateboarding and now I run marathons.
Surfing seems to be an important activity in your life, can you tell us how you got into it and what it does for you?
Being raised close to the beach really shaped who I am as a person and it was only natural that surfing was going to be such a huge part of my life. So, I started surfing when I was about 8 or 9 years old and I was hooked instantly—it’s just pure fun for me and it’s something I’ve been doing my whole life. I love being in the water and around the ocean and I can’t really imagine what my life would be like without surfing.
Why do you run?
I originally started running after recovering from a pretty bad ankle injury, maybe about 5 years ago, and I just wanted to get back into shape. I started off really slow, I could barely run a couple miles, and gradually, as time went on, I started running more and more, increasing my pace and my mileage as I went. Somewhere along the way, I really started to fall in love with it. Running makes me feel good, it always has. Lately, I’ve been signing up for races and training really hard just to challenge myself and see what my full potential is.
What came first: surfing or running?
Surfing came long before running. I never really planned on being a runner, I didn’t even run in high school—it never even crossed my mind. I always kind of gravitated toward other things. Like in high school, I did swimming and played water polo. But all I ever really wanted to do was go skateboarding and surfing. I feel like I discovered running a little bit late in life and I really wish that I’d found it earlier.
What are the similarities between what you get out of surfing vs. running? Differences?
You’d actually be surprised with how many similarities there are between running and surfing: they’re both very solitary sports. It’s fun to do with friends sometimes but if you’re a die- hard you’re usually going by yourself. They’re both lifelong activities. It’s not uncommon for me to see older people in their 60s or 70s both running and surfing, so that’s really cool to see. It’s a great opportunity to get outside—in nature, in the sunlight. And I feel like they’re really spiritual, I always feel calmer and more centered if I do them daily.
The biggest difference I’d say between the two is that running comes pretty naturally to most people, everybody instinctually knows how to run, whereas surfing has a little more difficult of a learning curve and requires a lot more technique to learn.
Describe your relationship with the long run and what it does for you physically, mentally, and/or spiritually.
I absolutely love long runs. Pounding the pavement is like a time warp sometimes. A two hour run can feel like 20 minutes in my head. Long runs are where I do some of my best thinking and I always find myself going deep into the zone and working through whatever is going on in my head. It’s been super therapeutic for me over the years and I feel like I crave them sometimes. Often people ask me, “Why the hell would you run 20+ miles in your spare time?!” I don’t know—it just puts me in the right place mentally and spiritually and I always feel more connected and tuned in after a long run. It helps me handle anything that life throws at me, all the bad stuff just seems to bounce off me and it does something for me that nothing else can. And I’m not going to lie, the long runs hurt but for some reason I seem to enjoy the pain.
I see you just ran the L.A. Marathon—what was it like leading up to it, during it, and after?
Oh man, the L.A. marathon was a rollercoaster of a ride for me. Nothing went as planned and I had to deal with things that were totally out of my control. It started about mid-January when I hurt my toe surfing, [laughs] of course. I couldn’t put on a shoe for about a week and I didn’t run for over a month. So that really screwed up my whole training plan. And then the morning of the race was a complete nightmare. Traffic was so bad getting to Dodgers Stadium, I honestly didn’t think we were going to make it. My shuttle was late and we pulled up as the gun was going off so there were 20,000 people in front of me. I pretty much started in last place. It took me 7 minutes to finally cross the start line and once I took off I was kind of flying. Bobbing and weaving through the slower runners was actually pretty fun but I definitely paid for it later on in the race. I was playing catch up the whole time so it took me 14 miles to finally catch up to the pace group I wanted to start with. And then things started to get really tough for me around mile 21. My legs got extremely tight and I really started to feel the fatigue. Then mile 23 my headphones died so I was totally in my head from there. Somehow, I managed to hold it together and finish with a time of 3:06, which I think is 308th overall. So I’m really happy with my result considering everything that happened.
I also see you ran it in one of our cotton tops. Can you tell the anti-cotton naysayers how that worked out?!
The Strummer tee is one of my favorites. I love that tee so much because it’s nice and soft on the skin and it’s got such good ventilation because of the distress holes. I always wear cotton shirts when I run. To me, it’s just more comfortable and more breathable, and I prefer cotton over poly or any other synthetic fiber shirt—it just feels better.
“The High” is the cornerstone of the Satisfy ethos. What does this mean to you? How do you attain this state in your running? In your surfing?
The runner’s high: that’s why we run. To me, there’s almost no better feeling. It’s what keeps me coming back and I’m always chasing that feeling. I feel like the high from running is totally different than surfing. The runner’s high comes more from deep and intense breathing, it’s very meditative. And the high from surfing comes more from the adrenaline rush. I love both.
Being immersed in both run and surf culture, how do you think the scenes are similar? How do you think they could evolve and learn from each other?
Both scenes are super rad. These people are just out there doing it because they love it and I find that they’re both full of chill, laidback, happy people that I really vibe with. I think one way that the running world can influence the surf community to evolve is by making more technical and functional equipment. I always enjoy the attention to detail, quality and innovation in running gear. And one thing I think the surf community does a really good job at is making surfing look fun and appealing through media and the culture which I think the running world can really learn and benefit from.