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  • Writer's pictureAnnaka Hogelin

Book Review: North by Scott Jurek

Updated: Jan 10, 2019

This past weekend, Thomas and I took a road trip to Lawrence, KS so I could participate in the Road Runners Club of America running coach certification program. It was a great learning experience (more on that later!) but we also really enjoyed the car ride. For us, car rides mean audiobooks and I was stoked when I saw the newly released book North by Scott Jurek with Jenny Jurek on the shelf at our local library.

I first learned of Scott when I read Christopher McDougall's Born to Run a few years ago, which is a fantastic book in its own right. And I remember seeing this Runner's World article in 2015 and was struck by the enormity of the feat and by the video clip in the article. However, it wasn't until recently that I connected the article and the runner in McDougall's book. Naturally, when I heard about the book, it was quickly added to my list.

In the book, Scott & Jenny write about Scott's FKT (fastest known time) attempt on the Appalachian Trail in the summer of 2015. He chose the northbound route (hence the title of the book) and provides the details of his journey to set a new FKT.

The book was fantastic... even though I knew how it ended (since I had read that Runner's World article), I was still held in suspense as we listened. There were so many great things and here are a few:

- I loved how it was written and narrated by both Scott and his wife Jenny. It was really nice to be able to hear both perspectives on the FKT attempt.

- I love living in the Rocky Mountains. And have never hiked in the Appalachians. With Colorado's obsession with 14ers, I never thought that the Appalachians sounded that impressive. WRONG. These mountains sound tough. And beautiful. And rugged. And worth exploring. I'm now looking forward to whenever I might be able to hike a segment of the trail!

- I think it is absolutely beautiful how the running (and ultra running) community came together to support Scott on this tremendous challenge. When things didn't go according to plan, it was clear the Jureks needed help. Sometimes solicited, sometimes unsolicited, help always came right when it was needed most. Such a fantastic community to be a part of!

- Speaking of community, the characters in the book we're awesome. Such a diverse & quirky bunch that have a lot to offer, both for entertainment & unique skillsets.

- I thoroughly enjoyed the frank writing style. They weren't afraid to say when things got tough, on the trail or in their marriage, but also highlighted the high points of the journey as well. This made the account very realistic.

- And, of course, the whole feat is AMAZING. I hurt just thinking about how much he pushed himself and marvel at what the human body is capable of.

All in all, it was a great book. Enjoyable and inspiring. I definitely recommend it, whether or not you're a runner. If you decided to check it out, I'd love to hear what you think!

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