Eat and Run, published in 2012, chronicles the life and running career of ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek. It’s no doubt that Scott is a great runner, winning some of the most prestigious races in the sport of ultra running, worldwide. I became somewhat familiar with Jurek’s running career when I read about him featured in a section of the nonfiction New York Times Best Seller “Born to Run“.
As with many athletes, especially those drawn to extreme sports, Jurek has a story to tell, documenting his life from his early childhood years to those at the top of the sport. He mixes in stories of being a vegan athlete with a few of his favorite vegan recipes, a good resource for those athletes wanting to follow in his footsteps. In recent years, a plant based diet has been adopted by many endurance athletes looking to improve performance through clean eating, although as Scott recalls, this was not common practice in 1999 when he gained fame for success in his sport. Many people said, and still say, that a vegan diet is not enough to sustain an endurance athlete, but as demonstrated by the elite few, it can be, as long as the athlete is attune with their individual needs.
Unfortunately, despite his interesting ascent to the top of his career, the second half of Scott’s story is uninspired. Chapters get repetitive as he takes on challenge after challenge, with many of the experiences being similar, similar distance, similar terrain, different race. For me, the biggest flaw of Scott’s story telling is how wrapped up he is in his own story, not aware or thinking of his audience. We get a detailed look into Scotts inner narrative, and the speech is neither inspirational nor insightful but on occasion surprisingly sexist and self-absorbed.
Perhaps Scott’s redeeming feature is that he is just a runner. Unlike the authors of other popular running memoirs, such as “Born to Run” (McDougall) or “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” (Murakami), Scott has no other quest but to RUN! The joy of running long distance itself, is a unique and personal experience, perhaps I just can’t relate to Mr. Jurek’s.
If you would like to find more about the book, you can read customer reviews here. I got my copy at the Da’an Eslite book store, or you can order it online here for pick up at your closest 711 in Taiwan.