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Eat & Run

My unlikely journey to ultramarathon greatness  By Scott Jurek

Reviewed by Edward Chapman

Eat & Run is a fascinating insight into the life and thoughts of Scott Jurek, an extremely accomplished ultrarunner. Seven consecutive victories at the Western States Endurance Run, a 100-mile trail race in northern California, which he dominated from 1999-2005. Three  consecutive wins at the 152-mile Spartathlon, 2006-2008. Two wins at the 135-mile Badwater ultramarathon and podium places on many, many other races of 50km and more.

The book is well written, perhaps due to the work of his co-author Steve Friedman, who Scott acknowledges "helped narrate my life in a way I never would have been able to do". That narative produces a book that is very readable and relevant to all runners, not just ultra marathoners. This does mean that very experienced, hardened ultrarunners may find some of the content not relevant and leave them wanting more.

He deals in an open and honest way with all aspects of his ultra running and personal life without moaning or evangelising. The book does deal in some detail with his vegan lifestyle and includes some of his favourite recipes for both meals at home and food for long runs, but it is done in a way that says this is what works for me; it may be different for you.

The book is primarily about his life, it is not about how to train for ultramarathons. There are little sections of advice at the end of some of the chapters. My favourite is "You don't have to be an ultrarunner to take advantage of the social rewards of running. Try running - at least on some of your routes - with a friend. Join a running club or weekly group run. Enter a 5K or 10K race. Do something for running that doesn't involve running. Working at the finish line or at an aid station or joining trail work parties."

While it is not a training manual reading it will make you think about running differently and probably help you improve and enjoy running more, you may even find yourself trying some vegan dishes. I'm sure you will find at least a few thoughts that resonate with you.

I have always struggled to put into words why I run, Scott Jurek, in Eat & Run, gave me those words.

'I love the feeling of moving over the earth, with the earth, the sensation of being in the present, free from chores and expectations and disappointment and worry.'

You can find Eat & Run on Amazon here.

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