Coming from an trail running background and not having lived under a rock for a few years I had some knowledge of Scott Jurek, multiple Badwater, Western States 100 and Spartathalon winner, he is also a central character from Chris McDougal’s Born to Run.
The book covers pretty much his life from growing up in the Midwest on a meat and two veg diet with a strict father figure through the World 24 hour championships in 2010. From his discovery of long distance running in his formative years it covers his early races, all his major races and wins as you expect. The descriptions of the races, the terrain and the tenacity are well written and compelling.
The book also covers his move to veganism and provides a couple of solid recipes in the back although these can be hard to follow in audio format. The story covers his personal life outside of running and as you could expect from any semi obsessive compulsive he is pretty dysfunctional, his running provides him a great escape from the harshness of the day to day reality of day to day life.
Having gotten through this book fairly quickly, within a week, there is one thing that really doesn’t sit well with me though. My previous opinion of Jurek was really one formed from reading encounters of him, race reports and interviews, I have never met him in person. Due to these I had conjured up an image of someone who was relaxed and easy going, focused on the running but laid back at the same time. Having listened there is a real disconnect between this and what comes through from the page. There is a sense of real arrogance is there in abundance bordering at times of being a real asshat, now that being said it could the reader that conveys that impression, it’s not read by him and in fact it’s not written by him either it’s co-authored the co-author Steve Friedman has written several sports books covering golf, basketball and running.
Overall I was left somewhat confused and disappointed buy this book, Jurek is clearly a complicated talented individual and I feel that his story has not really been captured merely the highs and lows and as we all know there’s usually a lot of filler between those points!
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