Last week ultra running stud, Scott Jurek, was in town to promote his book, Eat & Run.  For those of you not familiar with Scott, he is one of the world’s most successful ultra runners.  In the last 15 years, he has won dozens of races, including classics such as the Hardrock 100, the Spartathon in Greece, Death Valley’s infamous Badwater 135, and the sport’s premier event, the Western States 100.

What I find even more impressive, however, is what Scott has given back to the running community.  His kind words and actions have inspired countless runners to go faster and go further.  Articles by and about Scott have motivated countless others to take up running for the first time.  He has volunteered at many races here in the Pacific Northwest and is known for hanging out at the finish line to cheer in every last runner.  As much as he has gotten out of competitive running, he has given back so much more, which is why I was honored to introduce Scott to a couple hundred of his fans at the recent event at Powell’s Books.

While Scott has always been well known in the ultra scene, his popularity with the public at large has grown enormously after being featured in Christopher McDougall’s bestseller, Born To Run.  At the event he discussed the recent death of the book’s main character, Caballo Blanco (Micah True).  A lifelong recluse, Micah died at a time when he was just starting to come to grips with his unwanted fame.  Hopefully his Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon will continue to be held in support of the local Tarahumara in northern Mexico.

I’ve always assumed that elite runners would need to consume lots of animal protein to properly recover from the intense training required to succeed at the highest level.  Yet Scott has been able to accomplish as much as he has living entirely on a plant-based diet.  In his book he explains how he went from being a fast food junkie to someone who has a thoughtful relationship with everything he consumes.  I don’t think I’d ever want to go vegan or vegetarian, but I’m still excited about trying out some of the tasty-looking recipes in Eat & Run.

Both in person and in the book, Scott comes across as a totally normal guy with a lack of pretension that makes the ultra running scene so welcoming and enjoyable.  If you are looking for some inspiring stories, some training tips and some yummy recipes, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Eat & Run.  And who knows, maybe one day you too will be running 100 mile races over mountains and through deserts fueled only by a plant-powered diet.