"Eat & Run
: My Unlikely Journey To Ultramarathon Greatness" is written by Scott Jurek
, who first came to widespread public attention in Christopher McDougall's hugely popular "Born to Run
." You may remember him as the ultramarathoner who lets out a loud howl before the start of every race. I had the pleasure of hearing McDougall and Jurek speak (and howl) a few months ago at Fleet Feet Sports in Chicago, where the duo was promoting Jurek's book. Because the authors were together, I was primed to think that these books were related. Excited for a narrower but deeper continuation of "Born to Run," I eagerly picked up "Eat & Run," only to find out that they were nothing alike.
"Eat & Run" is best described as a memoir with recipes. Jurek grew up a traditional Minnesota boy and through endurance running and changing life philosophies, became a vegan. He credits both his vegan diet and his mental toughness for his ability to regularly run 50 to to 100-mile races. For the memoir portion, he recounts his struggles with his mother, who suffered from multiple sclerosis; and his father, with whom Jurek has a tough relationship. And of course he tells stories of the difficulties he's faced on various ultra trails and overcoming them to achieve personal bests
. The poignant memories of his parents are the most moving part of the book. A time or two, he gets philosophical to the point of being unrelatable. Regardless, it's still fascinating to get a glimpse into the mind of someone who can run nine-minute miles for a hundred miles straight.
The main difference between Jurek and McDougall is that McDougall is a writer and Jurek is not. McDougall often made compelling points whereas Jurek is simply an interesting person. Despite feeling mislead about how similar these books would be (am I the only one who thinks even the covers look similar?), I'd still say Jurek's book is worth reading. "Born to Run" made me want to get out and run a marathon despite not having run an entire mile since high-school gym class. And while Jurek's book did not inspire such a feat, it did at least make me feel I could give lentil burgers a chance.