I’ve never run more than 26.2 miles at one time. The fastest I’ve been able to run those 26.2 miles happened in October, 2010. Total time= 3 hours 28 minutes, and 04 seconds. However, if you’re ultrarunning superstar Scott Jurek, that would be a easy paced Saturday run, and you would maybe even do it again on Sunday.
|Scott Jurek at The Nature Conservancy before the Group Run|
Throughout his career, Scott Jurek has been one of the most dominant ultramarathoner’s in the world, winning many of the sport’s most prestigious and toughest races (multiple times). To name a few, Hardrock Hundred in 2007, Badwater Ultramarathon (’05 ’06), the Spartathlon (’06 ’07 ’06), and the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run (’99-’05). In 2010, Jurek set a new U.S. record for the most number of miles run in a 24 hour period- 165.7 miles at the 24-Hour World Championships in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France.
In his new book, Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness, Scott opens the doors of his life, and shares with us personal battles, inspirations, incredible stories of endurance and competition, and how he transformed to a vegan lifestyle. A vegan recipe is included at the end of each chapter, as well as some of Scott’s own very useful, running advice.
Prior to the interview, I received an advanced copy of Eat and Run from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Once I started reading, I literally couldn’t put the book down. I just wanted to turn to the next page to find out what happened next. I was so inspired upon finishing Eat and Run, not only can I hardly wait to sign up for my first Ultra, I’m hoping to be completely vegetarian (maybe even vegan) by mid-summer.
I was presented with the exciting and unique opportunity to do an interview with Scott for my blog. He is not only an amazing and accomplished athlete, he is an extremely charming, down to earth, and a super nice guy.
G2RN: You mention in Eat and Run that (in high school), running was a part of your training regimen for the boys’ cross-country ski team. You ran because you simply “wanted to ski”. Would you say that you found running or did running actually find you?
SJ: (Chuckles) I guess you could say, running found me. In fact, it was pretty much knocking at my door the whole time, I just never knew it.
G2RN: Running an ultra marathon is something very few people have or will ever experience. You however, have won some of the sports’ most prestigious races; multiple times in fact. In Eat and Run, you state “the only way to survive an ultra is piece by piece”. Can you elaborate on that?
SJ: When I compete in an ultra, I break the race down into small pieces. I still focus on the big picture goal, but, by setting smaller goals, such as getting to the next aid station.
G2RN: In Eat and Run, you include a vegan recipe at the end of each chapter. Do you have any plans of writing a vegan cookbook?
SJ: (laughs) A lot of people ask me that.. I’ve thought about it. At some point I may.
G2RN: You have said that your ability to run “father and faster” was the result of the “plants you were eating, and the meat that you were not eating. Could it have been that you just learned to master the term “mind over matter”?
SJ: Both are equally important. Running an ultra takes a strong mental will and desire. I believe, it’s all about the one body we get, and it is our job to nurture it. The goal is to learn how to have the quickest recovery possible, and with long term consistency. I embrace the challenge of adapting to a situation.
G2RN: If you could choose anywhere in the world (that you haven’t been to) to run, where would it be?
SJ: I’ve never been to Machu Picchu (“Lost City of the Incas”). I’ve seen pictures though.
G2RN: You are a Brooks sponsored athlete. How did you initially team up with Brooks Sports?
SJ: I was based in Seattle at the time (1999), and had taken a job with a local running store. The owner, Scott McCoubrey (whom I had met at Cle Elum Ridge 50K in ’97 during my internship in Seattle), introduced me to Brooks. In 2004, Brooks hired me to work with their design team on a new trail shoe called the Cascadia. I’ve been with them 8 years now.
G2RN: On June 30th, 2012, you are joining the Nature Conservancy’s Team Nature to run the Safaricom Marathon in Kenya, what excites you most about this race?
SJ: I’m really looking forward to visiting Africa and seeing the wild lands there, as well as interacting with the community. I’m especially looking forward to meeting the people of the Northern Kenya region, and being involved in conservation and community development efforts.
G2RN: Maintaining a vegan diet, is it difficult to find meals during traveling (such as airports)? Or do you just bring your own food?
SJ: I enjoy the challenge, in fact, I embrace it. You just have to adapt to your surroundings – it is definitely possible to find vegan choices while traveling, even in airports.
The next day, following my interview, I joined him (with about 250 other runners) at the start of the group fun run which started at The Nature Conservancy headquarters in the Ballston area of Arlington, Virginia. We jogged about 2.5 miles and ended at Pacer’s Running Store. Definitely an absolutely, very cool experience! How many times do you get an opportunity to run with one of the greatest ultramarathoner’s in the history of the sport??
It was quite a warm, humid, June afternoon that evening. After the run, we headed inside Pacers to enjoy the air conditioning. It was also then time for his talk, Q&A, and book signing.
|Scott giving a talk/Q&A at Pacers|
|Scott Jurek signing my copy of Eat and Run|
|Can’t wait to frame this!!! 🙂 🙂|
|Me and Scott Jurek during the book signing|
This was definitely an experience I will always cherish, and, must give a HUGE Thank You to Brooks Sports and Christina Mamangakis (Scott’s Publicity Manager) for making this interview possible. For more information on Scott’s book tour for Eat and Run click here. You can follow him on facebook and twitter, as well as his website.
Please consider donating to Scott’s team, Team Nature, to raise funds for community development and conservation programs in Kenya. Support for Team Nature will assist the Conservancy in protecting critical habitat for African wildlife such as elephants, lions, and rhinos. Funds raised will also aid the Northern Kenya community by directly supporting schools, clinics, and local organizations and projects. For more information click on this link.
Have you read Eat and Run? Are you a Vegan athlete? Leave your comments below.
*I was provided with a free copy of Eat and Run by Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. My interview with Scott Jurek was for this blog post, and I was not compensated in any way.
*Photos are my own and may not be copied or reprinted without permission.