Book Review – Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultra Marathon Greatness (Scott Jurek)

After rediscovering the gem that is the public library I have been on a major reading binge lately (because really, being able to get books for free is awesome). Looking for a little bit of inspiration, I spent this last week reading Eat and Run by Scott Jurek.

For those who aren’t familiar with Scott Jurek, he is one of the world’s elite ultra marathoners. This book first garnered my attention because there is something about reading about ultra marathons (and ultra marathon runners) that I am perversely attracted to. Rather than being horrified by the descriptions of extreme fatigue, hallucinations, and injuries, I am completely fascinated. While I have never personally ventured beyond the marathon distance, the concept of pushing one’s body to its limits during 50 mile, 100 mile, and 24 hour races is completely unfathomable in such a way that I am completely drawn to it.

I first became familiar with Jurek when I read Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run (which is also a great book – if you haven’t read it check out my review here). In Eat and Run, Jurek chronicles his upbringing and his early days cross-country skiing and he charts his path toward becoming one of the world’s greatest ultra runners. He carries certain themes with him throughout the pages (such as his father’s words that “sometimes you just do things” and his own principles with food) that provide a consistent message throughout the memoir. Each chapter contains either a training tip or a vegan recipe (sometimes both) that helps bring his references within the text to life. He describes many of his races and the highs and lows that were associated with each. The book is also very emotionally raw at times – specifically when he describes the challenges he faced after losing his mother (who had MLS), his divorce, and his alienation from his best friend.

Ultimately, this book describes the lessons that running teaches us about life. Some parts are “feel good” and some parts are emotionally difficult. All in all I thought that Jurek did a nice job of showing the reader how running has shaped him.

What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?