Book Review – Eat and Run by Scott Jurek
Sometimes you just do things. – Gordy, Scott Jurek’s father.
Name of the book – Eat & Run. My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness.
Author – Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman.
ISBN – 978-0-547-56965-9
Number of pages – 260(including Scott’s race history, notes and index).
Price – $26.
Genre – Ultramarathon running.
About the author
Scott Jurek or Jurker(as called lovingly by his friend Dusty) is a tall, lanky, head full of fusilli pasta like hair and a world renowned ultramarathoner. He has been a dominating force for nearly two decades in the unforgiving sport of ultra running. He has won Western States 100 mile race seven times in a row. He has twice won the brutal Badwater Ultramarathon of 135 miles. Also he has set an American record of 165.7 miles in 24 hours. He also got featured in the bestseller Born to Run by Christopher McDougall as he was one of the elite athletes invited to compete against the Tarahumara in Copper Canyon, Mexico. And he does all this superhuman distances by being a Vegan.
I have not met him but seen a lot of him on YouTube. He appears to be very humble and down to earth. The kind of simplicity he vibrates is astounding. He wears many hats like motivational speaker(he has delivered a Ted talk also), physical therapist, coach and a chef.
About the book
Scott had a tough childhood with his mother suffering from multiple sclerosis. He contributed in the household work and started to cook since the time he was 10. Doing the chores never excited him but as his father always said “Sometimes you just do things”, made him do them anyhow.
His love for skiing led him to take up running as a cross training means and to train during off season. During this time he started to learn about the various exercising concepts and also started helping out the physical therapist working on his mother. Also, during this time he met up with Dusty who changed his life.
Dusty introduced him to marathons and ultras. The relationship of Scott and Dusty is quite an interesting read.
Because of his busy lifestyle with insane amounts of running, Scott became a hardcore junk food eater to get in the calories. Slowly he made a complete transition into being a vegan. He continuously studied to improve his diet and learn new things from people like Hippie Dan. His experience in races and eagerness to improve his timings led him to a vegan lifestyle. He devoured the vegetarian food as he learnt more about it and finally won Voyageur 50 on third try. The win reinforced his faith on plant based diet.
In this book, Scott gives out a recipe at the end of each chapter. All the recipes are vegan and easy to make. Also, he has given out few running tips alongwith the recipes.
The interesting parts of the book are –
1. Training and race description of his first Western States 100, 1999 which he won.
2. Race description of Badwater Ultramarathon, 2005 which he won and created a course record.
3. Race description of Hardrock 100, 2007 which he won with a busted ankle.
4. Race description of Sparthalon, 2007 which he won.
Scott opened up his personal life when he got divorced and fell in love with Jenny. He also had to undergo the sadness of the death of his mother. To honor her death he ran 90 miles on the Tonto Trail in Grand Canyon unsupported.
The book is a very motivating read. The circumstances of his childhood made him what he finally came to be i.e a renowned ultrarunner. His hardships made him resilient and raised his level of tolerating inconveniences and pain. This insight is particularly very interesting.
The recipes given at the end of each chapter are very tempting but going with the flow of the book, they become an interruption. Though when I read the book second time, I focused more on them. Will definitely try out some and write a review on them.
The race descriptions are stimulating and exciting. The flow of the story and language is made up very nicely. After reading this book, my respect for Scott increased manifold. His scientific approach to training and will to win at any cost hit me very hard and shook me to my core. It also made me look into my running and take it more seriously.
Scott’s transition from a junk food endurance athlete to a vegan champ is a singular one. His journey has at one point of time made me also think of converting into a vegan.
So, this is a book from a highly motivated runner which can change your life. His journey from a simple boy with a difficult childhood to being at the top of his field is very inspiring. This book changed my outlook towards animal protein and vegetarian lifestyle. If you want to take your running to the next level, this is the book for you.
Final verdict – a must read.