Catching up with Coriander … and Scott Jurek!

My best friend, Erin and I with Scott Jurek before the group run.
My best friend, Erin and I with Scott Jurek!

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from Salty Running. The past few months or so have been a whirlwind, including a breakup, career change and move to a new neighborhood. And with all of that going on, I’ve still had time to run a few 50Ks (and do very well at them), train for my second 100 miler and start dating again.

When I first started at my new job, my manager and I were talking a little about our families and she kept saying, “everything happens for a reason.” Though I’ve always known this to be true, it never really resonated with me until this past weekend. On the schedule was the last long run before my goal race, the Mohican 100.  And to top that off, later that day I was moving and then attending a going away party for a friend moving to Los Angeles. I was supposed to be attending a wedding with my now ex-boyfriend, and if I did, I would have had to push my long run to Sunday. But, everything happens for a reason.

And one of those reasons ended up being a pretty darn good one: had I gone to the wedding, I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet an ultra running legend, Scott Jurek!

Scott Jurek is an ultra runner from Minnesota, but lives now in Boulder, CO. He has had a long and successful ultra career spanning over two decades, which includes wins at some of the most famous ultras like Hardrock, Badwater, Spartathlon and a streak of wins at Western States between 1999-2005. In 2010, he set the American 24-hour record at 165.7 miles. in 2012, Scott published his first book, Eat & Run, a memoir of his running career and life, mixed with his favorite vegan recipes (a must read for runners of any distance).

On Saturday, Scott visited Cleveland for the second annual Veg Fest at Cleveland State University. Before his afternoon seminar, he stopped down to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park for a group run organized by our local Fleet Feet stores. My friend, Erin, and I planned to start our final long run early at the same trailhead, do an out and back meet up with the group and then venture out back on the trail.

It was a cold morning when we set out on the trail shortly 6 a.m. We got about 8.5 miles in before meeting the group at the parking lot for the group run. As we approached the parking lot, I was shocked at what I saw. The largest group of people I’ve ever seen at one of my favorite trail heads, Station Road Bridge! It was a huge mix of about 120 runners: trail runners, road runner, ultra veterans and newbies.

Erin and I stood around for a second and then jumped in for a photo with Scott. I don’t know why I said it, but I apologized for being sweaty already and said we were doing our last long run for our race coming up. He asked which one and I said Mohican 100 and mentioned Erin was doing her first 50 miler there. “Nice, that’s a classic,” he said and wished us good luck. A few minutes later, the group came together for a group photo and we were off on our run.

The entire group with Scott Jurek. I'm in the front somewhere! (Photo courtesy of Fleet Feet Sports Cleveland)
The entire group with Scott Jurek. I’m in the front somewhere! (Photo courtesy of Fleet Feet Sports Cleveland)

Probably because of the amount of people, the group did an out and back on the Towpath. The really cool thing about Scott is that he starts up in the front with the fast runners and then works his way back to run with each group. But because we were only halfway through our 22 miles, Erin and I decided to turn down the street the group was using as the turnaround and hop back onto the trail from there instead of going back to the parking lot. We saw him right before hitting the turnaround spot and he told us we were looking good. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to actually run with him, but meeting him beforehand and knowing we were still sharing some miles with a legend was a great experience. We turned back onto the trail inspired by Scott and finished ready to rock our respective races at Mohican!

Thanks to Scott and Fleet Feet Cleveland for a fun long run interlude!

Have you ever had an opportunity to run with one of your running idols?

Trail and 100 mile ultra runner who still loves a good road marathon every now and then. Lifetime Northeast Ohio resident that dreams of the mountains out west, but loves CLE too much. Sometimes a vegan, sometimes does yoga, always loves a good craft beer and post race donuts.

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