By Scott Jurek
Image of the cover of North by Scott Jurek. Wesley Donehue's book reviews and recommendations.

“It was the breaking down that built me up.”

In that one sentence, Scott Jurek explains exactly why I do all the craziness that I do.

I have had the bug for some time but after reading this book I’m ready to sign up for my first real ultra marathon. I say “real ultra” because I’ve done a few ultra relays where I’m part of a team and ran over 40 miles. But in each I had breaks and I didn’t run continuously. I’m ready to jump into the real thing.

I’m a big fan of Scott Jurek. He’s one of the best ultra-marathoners of all time, known for fueling his body on a vegan diet. His first book Eat and Run is a favorite. Jurek is also a central figure in one of my top three favorite books of all time, Born To Run.

I loved this book but I can’t say that you would love it. I loved the pain and how Jurek was able to overcome it to set a new record for running the entire Appalachian Trial. This is the story of digging deep to reach that goal, something I’ve had to do on numerous occasions. It most reminded me of that painful GORUCK HTL in Normandy, but only 43 days shorter. I hate even comparing the two, but I know how it feels to have absolutely no physical or mental strength left. I know how it feels to sleep while walking and to not even know where you are. I know it and I love it. I yearn for it. I want to be completely beaten down because only then can I be built back up.

If that’s you, you’ll love this book. If you’re not into endurance events, this may not be the book for you. It’s a great story full of lessons on overcoming the most difficult of circumstances to reach your monumental goals.

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