Ultramarathoning superstar Scott Jurek was the keynote speaker Sunday for the Fort Wayne Track Club’s annual banquet, and while he was in town he led an untimed fun run at Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne.
Talk about a nice guy. Jurek ran at least a few steps with as many runners as he could, grinning his goofball smile and offering encouragement the whole time. Before and afterward he spoke with everyone who approached him.
At the banquet he spoke about breaking the speed record on the Appalachian Trail last summer and the biggest challenges he’s had to overcome during nearly two decades of amazing feats of endurance. Probably the most amazing: Lining up for the Hardrock Hundred with an air cast on a nasty swollen purple ankle he’d rolled just two days before. As I wrote in today’s newspaper column, he adjusted his stride and his mind and not only managed to win the race, but set a course record.
His feats would be impressive enough on their own, but Jurek just has a way of making everybody around him feel good. He breathes in bad news and exhales positivity.
So it’s not surprising that when he was hurting on the Appalachian Trail, going without sleep over the final days after injuries put him behind schedule, fans offered support via social media as well as dropping off vegan pizza, fresh fruit and other goodies at the checkpoints.
Last night some people drove from out of state to hear Jurek’s message. Afterward the line for the book signing of his bestseller, “Eat and Run,” stretched around the banquet hall, but he promised to stay until 2 a.m. if necessary to take care of everybody.
What a runner. What an inspiration. What a nice guy.