Running Heroes #8: Scott Jurek

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Few people in the running world have a reputation as admired and revered as that of Scott Jurek. This talented athlete is often hailed as one of the most influential runners of all time, and he is truly a living legend.

With a focus on ultramarathon running, Scott has shown incredible endurance skills and he has won some of the world’s most renowned races multiple times. In particular, he is known for his outstanding performances at the Hardrock Hundred in 2007, as well as the Badwater Ultramarathon in 2005 and 2006, and the Spartatholn for 3 consecutive years, from 2006 to 2008.

Early Days

Scott was born in 1973, and he was raised in Minnesota. Ever since he was a kid, Scott developed a truly strong bond with the natural environment surrounding him. He loved to spend time outdoors, practicing hobbies such as fishing, as well as hunting and camping with his family, who were all big fans of nature. Scott initially started trail running when he was a child. However, it was not until his sophomore year in high school that he took up long-distance running. This is when he started cross training and also preparing for nordic skiing, another one of his passions.

Funny enough, Scott was not a big fan of running at first. He was way more interested in skiing, but the more he ran, the more he developed a passion for the latter discipline. In particular, he enjoyed the ability to maintain a strong connection with nature and the outdoors, which he enjoyed so very much growing up.

Into Competition

Scott began competing nationally after his graduation. Then, he left his native Minnesota to move to Seattle, Washington, where he competed on national level in 1998, chilling the Zane Grey Highline Trail 50 Mile Run, as well as the McKenzie River 50K Trail Run. He also got second at the Angeles Crest, the first 100-mile race he ever attempted.

The streak of success and excellent performances continued deep into the following year, when he attempted the 100 miles yet again, this time winning at the Western States Endurance Run…on his very first take on this particular race! He even defeated the historic champion of that particular race, Tim Twietmeyer, who actually won for 5 consecutive times earlier on. Scott became the second person not originally from California to win this race, and he took his game to the next level, winning the same race 7 consecutive times!  He has been active for many years and even set the speed record for the legendary Appalachian Trail, hiking the whole trail in 46 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes earlier in 2015.

Scott the Author

Scott is also a well-regarded author, having published a book titled “Eat and Run”, in collaboration with writer Steve Friedman. The book quickly became a best seller and achieved an international audience, being translated in 20 different languages. The book offered a valuable insights in Scott’s life as an athlete, as well as some of his philosophies. In particular, Scott is very passionate and outspoke about his plant-based diet, citing not only health concerns, but also ethical and environmental reasons. Scott turned vegetarian in 1999, believing that chronic illnesses he witness within his family were due to pure nutritional habits. He also claims that his diet is the key to his recovery skills and superior performances.

Scott is currently living in Boulder, Colorado – a perfect place to feed his passion for outdoors activities, such as running, hiking, yoga and cycling, as well as nordic skiing and trail maintenance. He also loves to cook, and come up with dishes inspired by his travels throughout the word.

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