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Monday
Jul162012

Eat and Run - My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness - Scott Jurek

This was a book eagerly anticipated by lots of runners everywhere. Arguably the best ultra runner of the last 20 years gives his account of how he got there. His record is impressive. 7 successive Western States 100 wins, 2 Badwater wins, 3 Spartathlon wins, Hardrock win and who knows how many others.

The book did not disappoint, it is a refreshingly honest and candid view of how he became such a great runner. Obviously he has a huge amount of natural talent that he has exploited in his running career but he does not hide the fact that to get where he got took huge amounts of hard work and experimentation.

It was great reading about how he figured out his diet, his training, his race strategy, his mental and physical abilities. He studied classic training texts (before the internet told us everything) and was obsessed with being the best and winning the event he entered.

I was suprised by how competitive he is. I shouldn't be really, you can't compete at the top like that for years without having a competitve streak but he was obsessed with pushing himself as hard as he could go which in turn was as hard and anyone else could go.

It starts with a lot about his childhood which involved a lot of work for his father and looking after his mother. His friendship with another kid called Dusty who became his pacer for many of his runs. I loved the stories of the races, I liked the frequent advice boxes which I think make great reading for learning about the different aspects of ultra running. Each chapter has a vegan recipe too. Not sure whether I'll try any of those.

He opens up a bit about he felt being in the spotlight. The haters and detractors in some running circles. I think this may have got to him more than he'd like to admit. There is an open account of his time in Mexico, running with the Tarahumara which was to become famous in Born to Run. It was great to get his account of that story and also of his 24 hour track race more recently.

This was much more of a refreshing read than many other books. I am not really a fan of the "I turned up and won because I am awesome" books. Scott turned up and won lots of races because he worked so much harder and trained so much smarter than anyone else. There is a lot to learn here.

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