The Wisdom and Experience of Scott Jurek

Posted on June 26, 2012


I’m in the final stages of getting ready for a youth trip to Denver, but I had to share a little story. Last week I got the chance to run with Scott Jurek. I only ran next to him for 30 seconds of a 4.5 mile run through Robinette’s Apple Haus and Winery trails, but still it was great to meet him however brief the encounter may have been.

Scott is on a book signing tour for his new book Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness. As part of the tour he is doing runs in most of the cities he is visiting. You can see a picture of the Grand Rapids group above. (I’m in the back by the white van on the left.) The book is a great read and resonates with my life right now in several ways.

What I wanted to share were two quotes, the first is a paragraph about the reason behind doing an ultramarathon. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m in the middle of training for my first 50-mile race.) It captures the grace and insanity of distance running. The second quote is one of the most beautiful (and applicable far beyond running) statements I think I have ever read.

I’m convinced that a lot of people run ultramarathons for the same reason they take mood-altering drugs. I don’t mean to minimize the gifts of friendship, achievement, and closeness to nature that I’ve received in my running career. But the longer and farther I ran, the more I realized that what I was often chasing was a state of mind-a place where worries that seemed monumental melted away, where the beauty and timelessness of the universe, of the present moment, came into sharp focus. I don’t think anyone starts running distances to obtain that kind of vision. I certainly didn’t. But I don’t think anyone who runs ultra distances with regularity fails to get there. The trick is to recognize the vision when it comes over you. My broken toe helped me do that. (page 181)

Dawn would come. It had to. The race would end. I would finish. I knew all that. But what should have been self-evident truths felt like prayers. (page 226)

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