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Here’s the Wild Idea

Scott’s Wild Idea: To renew his sense of purpose by running the Appalachian Trail (which he also set the speed record for), and chronicling his adventures with his wife in a book called North.

Scott Jurek is one of the most accomplished ultra-runners of all time. Among his many accomplishments, Scott won the 153-mile Spartathalon, The Hard Rock 100, The Bad Water 135 Ultramarathon, and he’s won the Western States 100-mile endurance run a record-breaking seven straight times. He’s also the author of the New York Times bestseller Eat & Run, a memoir that traces Scott’s journey from his Midwestern childhood to his adventures in ultrarunning, and how he became a vegan.

In 2015, Scott had already accomplished much in his life, but found himself wanting a refresh. He eventually decided to run the entire 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail north towards Maine, with his wife, Jenny, as his support crew. The trail not only tested his limits, but also renewed his sense of purpose and love for running and the life he created. Averaging over 50 miles a day for over 46 days, Scott was pushed to his limits, enduring injury and meeting an amazing cast of characters along the way. He also broke the trail’s speed record, despite running north toward Maine, a harder route to follow if going for speed.

In our conversation, Scott and I talk about what it was like to run the infamous trail, what he ate along the way, and the challenges and benefits of doing it all with his best friend/wife as his support system. We also dive into the process of co-writing a book with your spouse, and how adventure can be so impactful in helping you rediscover your own purpose in life and build better relationships.

Presented by REI

Listen to this Episode if

  • You’ve ever thought about hiking (or running) the Appalachian Trail.
  • You want to run an ultramarathon.
  • You are or are interested in becoming a vegan.
  • You like to write.
  • You need some inspiration to renew your sense of purpose.

Key Takeaways

  • 2:50 – Why Scott decided to run the Appalachian Trail.
  • 5:15 – Scott’s favorite tidbits from the trail.
  • 9:45 – Scott used mantras to get through 50 miles a day.
  • 12:25 – What it was like going on this adventure with his wife.
  • 16:45 – How he handled tough conversations with his wife.
  • 19:45 – Why he didn’t train for his run on the Appalachian Trail.
  • 21:45 – What Scott ate on the trail (and what a fat sandwich is).
  • 29:45 – Scott’s advice for discovering your sense of adventure.
  • 33:10 – How Scott stayed strong on the trail.
  • 38:40 – Scott’s advice for doing the Appalachian Trail.
  • 42:30 – Why a film crew joined Scott for a few days.
  • 45:35 – The growth of the vegan athlete population.
  • 47:50 – Scott’s advice for raising adventurous kids.
  • 54:30 – The books Scott loves.
  • 58:15 – The party Scott would throw – surprise – it’s in the mountains.

Other episodes to listen to

Chris McDougall
Aspen Matis
Michael Finkel


Eat & Run

Awesome books Scott recommends

Born to Run by Chris McDougall
Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel
Bone Games by Rob Schultheis
Spontaneous Healing by Andrew Weil


Game Changers movie

Connect with Scott




Wild Ideas Worth Living on Facebook
Wild Ideas Worth Living on Instagram
Wild Ideas Worth Living on Twitter