Vegfest and Scott Jurek

Damien Clarkson and Scott Jurek

Yesterday I headed down to VegFest at London, Olympia. I have never been a big fan of these kind of events, always overcrowded and full of people selling you thinks you frankly don’t need. But this year Ultra Marathon legend Scott Jurek was one of the star attractions of the event and gave a number of talks over the course of the weekend.

Scott Jurek is probably the main inspiration behind my running journey so far. His running achievements include winning the following races  Hardrock Hundred (2007), the Badwater Ultramarathon (2005, 2006), the Spartathlon (2006, 2007, 2008), and the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run (1999-2005).

He is also a vegan and has been since 1999, he believes his vegan diet is one of the main factors which has enabled him dominate ultra marathon running for the past decade.

This year Scott released his memoir Eat and Run a book I highly recommend which charts his unlikely rise to ultra marathon greatness and also gives you some of his favourite recipes for fuelling runs.

So yesterday I got to meet Scott, he was signing copies of his book and taken plenty of time to chat to everyone who came to see him. I have to say he was such a lovely guy he was genuinely interested in talking to us about being vegan our running, nutrition I even gave him a few vegetarian restaurant recommendations. I told Scott how I felt a lot of empathy with what he wrote in his book. His Mum died from multiple sclerosis which is a neurone disease similar to Motor Neurone Disease which my Dad died from and like Scott my Dad was also a bit of hard ass.

Sometimes you read about people or see them on TV then when you meet them in real life you’re disappointed. This wasn’t the case with Scott he was a great guy and I feel more inspired than ever.

Afterwards we watched Scott give a talk on nutrition which was really interesting, I will be doing his hydration test in a few weeks and I will let you know how I get on.

He also signed some inspiration in my copy of Eat and Run.

Eat and Run


Little inspirations

The Cool Impossible

Running opens our eyes to new experiences. These experiences always take different forms sometimes we learn about our body, other times our mind, I personally love discovering new surroundings in my local area.  In my mind every run is an ever evolving journey of discovery, the more I run the more I realise this. The prospect of what I might learn about myself and my surroundings in the coming years is filling me with excitement.

The prime example body wise for me has been my feet. When I was injured the first thing my physio did was to get me to take my shoes and socks off and balance on one leg. I wobbled, then I did the same thing on my left leg and I really wobbled. In my rehabilitation we talked a lot about feet and how have strong feet feeds into having strong muscles throughout your legs. Since then I have switched to Nike Free’s 5.0 which I find brilliant, the sensation of feeling my toes spring off when running was something I hadn’t felt since I quit playing football regularly 8 years ago.

I am like so many people I am someone who loved the book ‘Born to Run’. And today Eric Orton (the coach from Born to Run who took part in the race in the Copper Canyon and helped transform the running of the author Chris McDougall) new book ‘The Cool Impossible’, dropped through my door. I am only a couple of chapters through but his focus has already been on feet and achieving muscle equilibrium before my injury this was something I suffered with massively. I was totally one sided. I have worked had to address this and I know I still have work to do, so Eric’s training plan is filling me with excitement. Although the prospect of buying a slant board (basically a little wooden ramp) for $80 doesn’t so much. I think my very amateur DIY skills may get a run out. I actually found this great blog by Warrior Woman on how to make your own slant board if you also have read the book and wondered about making one.

Also this weekend I will be heading the VegFest the biggest vegetarian and vegan festival in the UK. I am excited about meeting and listening to talks from ultra-marathon legend and vegan Scott Jurek another star of Born to Run and 7-times winner of the prestigious Great Western States 100 mile race. I have read Scott’s new book ‘Eat and Run’, as a fellow vegan, a keen cook and someone who has also lost a parent to muscle wasting disease, I felt a lot of empathy with what Scott had to say. I highly recommend reading this book, if you want to achieve a life with running as an important part of it.

I have also seen these two videos today which I really enjoyed for two totally different reasons. But if you’re a runner I think you will love them as well.

Boston Men 2011 Men’s Winner Slow Motion

8 Stages of Marathon Running

It would be great to hear from other runners who are heading to Vegfest. And it would be great if readers could link me to your running inspirations. Whether they are videos, photos or books, I am always keen to learn from other runners.

London Marathon

London Marathon

Well I am not going to lie I did feel blue on receiving my London Marathon ballot application rejection last week. In fact I felt the Smurf was quite mocking, I wasn’t a fan as a kid and certainly I am not now, I would have much preferred a Womble.

Seeing several friends getting ballot places made me realise how much I had set my heart on running this event. I know there are loads of great marathons out there but having been along to watch the London Marathon it clearly has a special atmosphere.

I live in London, studied in Greenwich and I am originally from the outskirts of south east London. So the streets the London marathon explores are places I have grown up around.

However slowly over the past couple of days I have started to feel less despondent. I been lucky to spend time with some great friends and family and spoken to other friends online and they have encouraged me to apply for a charity place.

My friends and family are the reason I have had my heart set on doing the London Marathon. I remember the huge lift seeing friends and family gave me when I struggled around my Royal Parks half marathon 3 years ago. So I think that is what I am going to do, I am going to try and get a charity place. My Dad died from Motor Neurone Disease in 2011 and running the London Marathon in front of friends and family and fundraising for that charity is something I am sure he would have been proud of me for doing.

Training in the last week has been varied and enjoyable. I have started preparing for the Capital Runners Bushy Park 10k on the 20th October. I am looking at definitely ducking under the 48 minute mark and I hopeful of perhaps ducking under 46 minutes.

My recent 10k runs have have seen me exploring the beautiful Walthamstow and Hackney Marshes. Discovering new parts of your local area has to be one of my favourite things about running. I would love to hear about the most amazing places you have discovered whilst running, please leave comments or tweet me.