Eat & Run
"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.