"Hi Scott I'm Scott." - I thought I was clever. The whole "we have the same name" thing seemed like a easy ice breaker. What can I say I was star struck. He is an idol of mine.
As a former Marine I am not easily impressed by physical feats. Usually when I hear of challenging events I say " I could do that." Unless you are speaking about superhuman endurance and mental fortitude like Scott Jurek possesses. His accomplishments are more than impressive. He, in my mind, is a legend of human achievement. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get to meet and listen to Scott give a talk at the Seattle REI.
Mom had come into town just in time to catch the last half of the talk. I leaned over to her during the talk, knowing she had read "Born to Run" and asked her "You know who that is right?" She did. She remarked at how....normal he seemed. She later remarked at how "hot" he was in real life to my girlfriend who now has the card he signed for her hanging on her bib wall.
When I walked up and introduced myself he looked at my T-shirt ,"your ego is not your amigo" he read out loud and laughed remarking he liked that. That is something I admire about Mr. Jurek. He does what he does because he loves to run. He loves to run with people. I reminded my mom as we stood in line about how Scott was famous for being the first across the finish line and one of the last to leave it. He waits to cheer for everyone. Hours after he finishes he is known to still be standing there cheering for the average runners. The people like me who start with simply a goal of finishing.
Such character is rare in this world. I can't say I would do the same. That is humbling.
I became an even bigger fan after listening to him and getting to chat with him for a few minutes while he signed posters for me, my mom, my girlfriend, and my absent running partner. Never once did he seem hurried or impatient with the line. He seemed completely unconcerned with anything except the person he was signing for and chatting with. I never got the feeling he was under time constraints or under pressure from a sponsor to "move it along" as so often happens with professional athletes.
He absolutely lived up to everything I have heard about him. Humble and down to Earth. Extremely intelligent and well spoken. Entertaining and informative. Motivating. Willing to talk and listen to anyone.
I told him I followed his and Anton Krupicka's blogs and knew they often ran together in Boulder. I asked if he knew whether or not Anton was feeling healthy enough to run this years UTMB. His answer was exactly what I wanted to hear;
"I know he wanted to run this year if Kilian was running." That race match up is one I am very eager to see. Kilian and Anton are high on my list of "these guys are simply bad ass. These guys have the right mindset. They love what they do."
I told Scott I remembered reading that he had decided to give UTMB a rest for a while and asked if that was still the case;
"Well, when you want to run certain races sometimes you have to skip others to fit them in and the 24 hour World Championships are around that time and I really want to focus on that." He said. I told him he was crazy. The idea of running on a track for 24 hours just flabbergasts me. That is a test of mental endurance like I can't imagine. I cannot stand running on an oval.
I told him I had been wishing he would hurry up with his book for years now and was quite excited to read it. I am especially looking forward to the recipe and nutritional information in his new book "Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness". Also that I was looking forward to his return in June and hoped I would be able to run with him one day, from the back of course.
I appreciated every second of it. I walked out simply happy. I thought he was every bit deserving of me looking up to him. As an alpha I don't say that often.
If you ever stumble upon this Mr. Jurek I say thank you. Both from myself and for the way you spoke to my mother. Thank you.
"While living I want to live well" - Geronimo