I really enjoyed reading Scott’s earlier book ‘Eat and Run’, so i was really looking forward to giving this a read.
To sum this book up, this is one of the greatest ultra runners of all time who, after having retired from professional competition, gets his outdoor fix by going hiking along stretches of the PCT with his wife and best friend, Jenny. During one of these hikes they have a big argument and Scott has a bit of a existential crisis and decides he needs to fix himself by returning to suffering and tells Jenny that he’s going to attempt the Appalachian Trail FKT.
Best of all is that he manages to rope Jenny in as his sole support crew member in a converted van suitably named ‘Castle Black’ by telling her that it’ll be a great family summer holiday for their small family of two.
As we go through each chapter of the book we are introduced to each section of the trail, beginning with Scott’s perspective on it followed by Jenny’s. And what a journey it is. It’s utterly ridiculous, but also utterly amazing at the same time. And if you aren’t a bit soggy eyed at the end then you is heartless.
An amazing journey with an amazing couple of human beings — and a ton of friends, old and new, who helped big time along the way and made it all possible.
If, like me, you enjoyed Scott’s first book, then make sure you give this a read some time.
On 2nd July 2019, Scott and Jenny Jurek made an appearance on the ‘Plant Strong Podcast’ in which they both talk a fair bit about this massive journey they went on together — well worth a listen: ‘Fueled by Plants: Scott & Jenny Jurek’
This is a great book by Scott Jurek one of ultra’s greatest ever competitors. Like Finding Ultra by Rich Roll, this book doesn’t go into training for ultras or anything like that, it just chronicles Scott’s journey from childhood through to ultramarathon champion and how he got there, with great accounts of some of his greatest races.
And also like Finding Ultra’s writer, Rich Roll, Scott Jurek is also a vegan, or ‘plant based athlete’ which seems to be the more politically correct term vegan athletes are choosing theses days. And sprinkled liberally throughout the book are lots of Scott’s favourite recipes for you to try if you so wish. In a lot of ways it’s like a vegan cook book with a great story shoved in between the recipes.
Well worth a read. Especially for those with any designs on endurance training or participating in endurance sports.
And don’t forget to read North also.
I came across Rich Roll and his exploits through my wanderings around the internet looking at all things triathlon and ultra athletics, which is my current thing, in case no one’s been keeping up lately.
Rich lays out his whole life from high school, college swim champion, heading for international sporting star only to discover a love for alcohol, drugs and parties, wrecking all hope of sporting glory forever. Then his continued destructive, choatic, drunken lifestyle through to his battle to get clean. And then his descent into junk food fueled, overweight, middle age from which he finally wakes up and becomes one of the world’s top ultra athletes, as a vegan, in his 40’s. It really is an inspiring book for anyone who has been through the chaos of addiction and has come out the other side with a new found desire for a healthier, fitter life: even if you don’t want to be an ultra athlete.
Rich also describes, fully, his experiences through his first two Ultraman (a double length Ironman) races, and also his adventure with Jason Lester in creating and completing the first Epic 5 challenge (5 Ironmans in 5 days), now a staple on the ultra athletics calender. It’s astounding to realise just how much the middle aged human body can do and to hear it all from inside the mind of one of these competitors gives a whole new view of these extreme sports people.
And there’s certainly lots of food for thought also, literally, for anyone who is vegan, or is considering or training on a vegan diet. It’s certainly changed my diet as i recently went back to being a vegan half way through reading this and yesterday ran 15km at 50 years old, the farthest i’ve ran since i was in the army in my 20’s.
Worth a read!