Call him gifted or versatile, Scott Jurek has done full justice to every tag that’s been attached to him through his illustrious ultra-marathon career. Besides inspiring hundreds to run with his achievements, he’s also an author and public speaker, who has taken on the challenge of informing runners about their food and diet.
Jurek’s achievements include the famed Hardrock Hundred, two victories at Badwater Ultramarathon, the Spartathlon, and the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, and many more. Jurek came into the limelight by setting the American record for distance running of 165.7 miles in 24 hours.
Born on October 26, 1973, he grew up in Proctor, Minnesota and as a kid he used to love fishing, hunting, and camping with his family. This love for the nature is most apparent in the enthusiasm with which he tackles trail runs now. In college, in his sophomore year he started cross-country running to prepare for Nordic skiing. This converted him into a runner, and his summer vacations were spent finding new trails to conquer.
Jurek’s performance at Western States Endurance was highly acclaimed as he competed and won against the likes of Tim Twietmeyer on his first attempt. He won the WSE event from 1999 to 2005, a record seven consecutive times since his debut year, completely cementing his place in the pantheon of runners.
In 2010, at the 24-Hour World Championships in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, Jurek won a silver medal finishing after Japan’s Shingo Inoue, but set a new US record for the distance run in 24 hours running over 266 km. In the UK’s rugged Lake District, along with Rickey Gates, he was one of the first North Americans to complete the coveted Bob Graham Round.
Jurek’s legacy in ultramarathons was cemented when he completed the famed Appalachian Trail in record time in 2015. He started the run at Springer Mountain in Georgia, on May 27 and averaged nearly 80km (50 miles) a day, crossing over 14 US states, and traversing a scarcely believable 5,15,000 feet of elevation change in just 46 days, 8 hours, and 7 minutes.
A strong believer in eating healthy and in a sustainable manner, Jurek turned vegetarian in 1997 and then vegan two years later. His bestseller ‘Eat and Run’ is all about eating right and in the book, he beautifully explains the importance of plant-based or vegan diet, and how it has impacted him and other athletes in a positive way.