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Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness

Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott JurekSteve Friedman

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For nearly two decades, Scott Jurek has been a dominant force—and darling—in the grueling and growing sport of ultrarunning. In 1999, as a complete unknown, he took the lead of the Western States Endurance Run, a 100-mile traverse over the old Gold Rush trails of the California Sierra Nevada. He won that race seven years in a row, setting a course record along the way. Twice he won the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile “jaunt” through Death Valley. He triumphed in the 153-mile Spartathlon in Greece three times. And he was one of the elite runners who traveled to Mexico to run with the Tarahumara Indians, as profiled in the runaway bestseller Born to Run. His accomplishments are nothing short of extraordinary, but that he has achieved all of this on a plant-based diet makes his story all the more so.

In Eat and Run, Scott Jurek opens up about his life and career—as an elite athlete and a vegan—and inspires runners at every level. From his Midwestern childhood hunting, fishing, and cooking for his meat-and-potatoes family, to his early beginnings in running (he hated it), to his slow transition to ultrarunning and veganism, to his world-spanning, record-breaking races—Scott’s story shows the power of an iron will and blows apart all the stereotypes of what athletes should eat to fuel optimal performance. Chock full of incredible, on-the-brink stories of endurance and competition as well as fascinating science and accessible practical advice—including his own favorite plant-based recipes—Eat and Run will motivate everyone to “go the distance,” whether that means getting out for that first run, expanding their food horizons, or simply exploring the limits of their own potential.

About the Author

Scott Jurek is a world renowned ultramarathon champion and the 24-hour American record holder of 165.7 miles–6 1/2 marathons in one day. His wins include the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run an unprecedented seven consecutive times, the 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon twice, Hardrock Hundred and the 153 mile Spartathlon three times. He powers his body on a plant based diet and is a passionate cook, physical therapist and coach. Scott prominently appears in two New York Times Bestsellers “Born to Run” and “The 4-Hour Body.” He has been featured in the The New York Times, CNN, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, EPSN Magazine and numerous other media. He makes his home near the mountains of Boulder, CO.

Steve Friedman is the author of five books, including Driving Lessons, Lost on Treasure Island and The Agony of Victory and the co-author of two books. Eat & Run (with Scott Jurek), will be released June 5, 2012. Friedman has written for Esquire, GQ, Outside, The New York Times, Backpacker, Runner’s World and other titles and his stories have been widely anthologized. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and graduated from Stanford University. He lives in New York City.

Table of contents:


“Sometimes you just do things!”

As a philosophy, it isn’t bad. Scott Jurek, the great ultramarathoner, learned that little chestnut from his father while growing up. While Scott didn’t like that reasoning when he was younger, he found as he grew up that it was as good an explanation as any for why he would subject himself to the rigors of ultramarathoning.

This is a good, short book that covers Scott’s life up to 2010. He details his early athletic endevours (he started running to get in shape for ski season) and talks about his big races. There isn’t an abundance of running advice, though Scott does mention several books he has read on running that influenced his life and career. The title “Eat & Run” is appropriate, as Scott focuses not just on running, but his vegan diet as well. He explains why he started going vegan, how it has helped his career, and then provides a new recipe at the end of each chapter. I wish I had some cooking talent so that I could try out some of the recipes. They sound delicious.

-By Larry Zieminski

I’m not typically a biography reader, and I’m not someone who follows Scott Jurek or the sport of ultrarunning in general. Sure, I run a little, but I’m not fanatical about it, and I’m definitely no vegetarian.

Still, I picked this book up and read half of it on a plane between Phoenix and Houston. I would have kept going all the way through but the plane was landing. (I read the second half on my way back to Phoenix.)

All I can say is that the book is very well written, entertaining, informative and inspirational. I can’t speak to the quality of the recipes as I haven’t had a chance to try any of them yet, but my copy of the book has markers in it to call out the (vegetarian!) recipes that I want to try.

Scott seems like an amazing person with an fantastic group of friends in the running community and around the world. His life is definitely not without struggle and conflict, but he’s made it this far and is still going.

I particularly enjoyed the titles associated with each chapter: “The Pride of the Cake Eaters”, “Bug Boy Goes Gown”, and “The Wisdom of Hippie Dan”, to name a few, and the accompanying quotations sourced from the likes of Lao-Tzu, Randy “The Macho Man” Savage, Tupac Shakur, Robert Frost and John Muir.

If you’ve read and enjoyed Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (Vintage), I think you’ll enjoy this book. I know I did.

-By D. Baer (Mesa, AZ USA)

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