“We focus on something external to motivate us, but we need to remember that it’s the process of reaching for that prize—not the prize itself—that can bring us peace, and joy.” Eat & Run, p.177
We spoke with Scott Jurek while filming a Video (we’ll put it up soon!) Scott has been uncharacteristically at home this summer, enjoying cooking and running in the mountains, as he explains in this conversation.
Q – What kind of running have you been doing?
I’ve been getting up into the Indian Peaks Wilderness, and finally did the Buchannen/Pawnee Loop; I’ve done a bunch of runs up there, but this one is a classic 28 miler, with two big passes, 12,000′ high, that take you over to the other side of the Continental Divide then back again. It’s been a lot of fun.
Q – Have you done these with Jenny?
I’ve been doing some runs by myself, but also have been enjoying going with friends, with Jenny – just having fun. Not worrried about knocking out certain times or paces, just being out in the Wilderness, and it’s been a blast. Plus, we’ve had great weather this summer.
Q – I have to ask – since you are one of the most successful ultrarunners in the history of the sport – what about racing? Do you have plans for near future? Have you missed it? Are you going to get back into it?
There are a couple of other things I want to do, so I plan on racing for the next year and a half. As much as I love being in the mountains, I’m still interested in the 24 hour event … it’s kind of funny, just a weekend ago, my American 24 Hour Record got broken, by Mike Morton, one of my hero’s. And in Poland. I’ve had my eyes on the World Record too, so next year that will be one of my focus’s. This year I’ll keep up a good base … building a really solid base, work on my speed, get strong, and hit it hard next year again.
I’ve been very occupied with my book, focussed on things related to running but not running. It’s been more about work this year.
And I’ve also always said, that I never planned on racing as a Master – and I turn 39 this October. I always thought I’d call it good when I turn 40; that will be 20 years competing in ultra marathoning. That to me is a pretty good streak.
Q – Is there a specific event we should look toward to … the American or World 24 Hour Championship?
Yeah, I’m not focussed neccesarily on the Championship events – their timing can be difficult to fit into the schedule – I want to find the right course, the right environment. I think the World Championships will be in May, so I’m still sorting out what will be the best setting to go after it. That’s the tricky things with 24 Hour events – every little detail counts – having good weather, having good conditions, really makes sense.
Q – You were an extremely focussed and methodical runner – now you’ve shifted that focus to building your business – have you missed it? Have you missed that level of competitive intensity, or has the transition to broadening your scope been natural and easy?
It’s very fulfilling. I’ve been doing a lot of this in my career all along – I haven’t suddenly been thrown into speaking and engagements – so it’s not entirely new – easy . It’s been a nice break actually. I’ve been competing for so long, I feel perfectly at home at a race, volunteering, helping out … this weekend I’ll be going to the Pine to Palm, a 100 miler in Oregon … a lot of competitors find it hard to go to a race and not race, but for me, enjoy volunteering and being being a part of scene, whether on the race course as a competitor or helping out. You get a lot from it. It helps seeing the sport from a lot of different angles, and I learn something whether I’m racing or volunteering, or whether I’m giving back to the sport by being there and going on group runs and fun runs with people.
Q – That’s why you’re a better person than I am … but how about your book? How is it doing?
It’s doing great, it’s was on the New York Times Bestseller List, and I’m planning on getting back on the road again to support it – visiting some places in the Southeast, the East Coast, Midwest, down in the South – some places I haven’t been to yet. The initial book tour in June was … well, it was quite the travel schedule! But now I’m looking forward to getting out in October and November, running with people, seeing people. I’m excited to hit the road again.
Q – People would like to see you … when will you announce the Schedule?
Q – You’ve designed the Ultra Vest for Ultimate Direction, part of the Signature Series, that has your signature right on the product … how has that been?
Part of the reason I’ve been doing these big runs – I’m not training for a Hundred – is I need to test this product … OK, on a 30 mile run, out in the Wilderness, I need to find out, how is the pack going to function? So I’ve been really excited to put the Ultra Vest thru a true test. Working with the Design Team, tweaking it, giving feedback, intimately involved in the whole process, is something I really enjoy, I’ve done that with other company’s, and it’s been a real pleasure working with Ultimate Direction.
I used to constantly tweak my old Wasp Pack, adding the ability to carry bottles up front where I want them, and now to have the Ultra Vest which has all the same feature, but at half the weight, is great. I’ve been racing Ultras for 20 years, and when I first started my career I just had a single bottle holster that Ultimate made, running thru the trails of Northen Minnesota, so it’s evolved quite a bit!
I’m excited to pass along to other people – designing a totally different kind of hydration pack, going on the book tour, going on Fun Runs, helping out a races – I got to learn what people want, what works for a lot of people, not just the top competitors.
I get to contribute to the sport from a different angle.