Jurek’s autobiography offers insight into the journey and successes of an ultramarathon legend.
By his own admission he was an average kid growing up in northern Minnesota. He took on many familial responsibilities once his mother was diagnosed with multiple Sclerosis and needed physical therapy. Despite Jurek’s high blood pressure, and his father’s tough parenting, he found peace in his local woods.
As his family could not afford much equipment he became fitter and more competitive through endurance running and cross-country skiing alongside Dusty Olson, a man with whom Jurek would have a tumultuous relationship.
Jurek studied and trained hard whilst reading books on philosophy, yoga, Pilates and veganism, as well as working in running shops and as a physical therapist.
Jurek chronicles winning and breaking records in some of the toughest foot races in the world, including the Hardrock 100, the Spartathlon (in Greece) and the Western States 100, a race he wins seven consecutive times from the age of twenty-five. They are dramatic and fascinating, even when he paces a friend at the Western States 100.
Jurek accomplishes all this in spite of coping with divorce, his mother passing away, a friend committing suicide and injuries that force him to drop out midway through races.
Yet his obsession with healthy living and asking (and answering) existential questions keeps him grounded and hungry to reach his potential.
Jurek shares his thoughts on succeeding as a runner and vegan athlete, and many notable competitors, including Ferg Hawke, Tough Tommy, Mike Sweeney, Karl Metzler, Kyle and Erik Skaggs and Yanus Korus. His exploration into the Copper Canyons of Mexico to run alongside the famous Tarahumara Indians and Cabello Blanco, is an illuminating account of how running can be an efficient means of survival.
Scott offers unique motivation throughout the book, including inspirational quotes, nutritional recipes and racing advice.
- Winning races should make you confident yet humble.
- A strong runner knows the difference between significant pain (which is a signal to stop and rest) and insignificant pain (which is a signal to push through).
- Running is a metaphor for life – the ultimate test of mental willpower, where non-essential thoughts are detrimental to progress.
Jurek is a true champion and inspiration of the ultrarunning community. In this enthralling audiobook he offers a rare tale of how sport can truly transform a competitor into a better person. He is one of my main running influences, a man who knows that winning can enlighten oneself and others.