Anyone who has read Christopher McDougall’s classic ‘Born to Run’ will know Scott Jurek. He’s considered one of the greatest runners of all time and is an ultra-running legend.
Jurek’s won all the biggest ultramarathons, set a US record for ‘distance run in 24 hours’ (165.7 miles) and won the 152-mile ‘Spartathlon’ on three consecutive years. These ultra-marathons are absolutely insane races —to put these distances into perspective, remember that the marathon, at 26.2 miles is considered the benchmark of endurance running.
‘Eat and Run’ is a personal memoir of Jurek’s life and career through to 2012. It’s an interesting case study of the ways in which the limits of the human body can be redefined. Jurek achieved success not through innate ability but through force of will, meticulous planning, extreme preparation and incredible determination. While his superhuman exploits won’t necessarily motivate readers to try a 152-mile road race; they do make you consider what it means to ‘give 100%’ and what might be achievable with more focus and effort.
For readers interested in running there’s tips and strategic advice about how to race but this book is as much about food as it as about running. Jurek’s been a hardcore vegan since 99′ and he’s not shy about telling you. In fact he attributes a lot of his success to his food choices and this is an ongoing theme of the book. There’s even recipes in every chapter. To be honest, I skipped through most of these parts but appreciated his enthusiasm for a sustainable, healthy, plant-based diet —other’s may not.
Jurek finishes ‘Eat and Run’ by reminding us to stay focused on the process of moving towards to our goals without focusing on the finish line:
Life is not a race. Neither is an ultramarathon, not really, even though it looks like one. There is no finish line. We strive toward a goal, and whether we achieve it or not is important, but it’s not what’s most important. What matters is how we move toward that goal. What’s crucial is the step we’re taking now, the step you’re taking now. Everyone follows a different path. Eating well and running free helped me find mine. It can help you find yours. You never know where that path might take you.‘Eat and Run’ — Scott Jurek
Eat and Run is a worthwhile read, particularly if you need a shot of motivation. Recommended.