In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that not only am I not a sports fan, but in general I’m not a person who is impressed by feats of physical prowess, be they strength, speed, or agility. I don’t even watch the Olympics.
But as every vegan knows, when you tell people that you not only don’t eat meat, but you also shun eggs and dairy, it’s only a matter of time before you start getting into debates not just about health, but also about your ability — or lack thereof — to compete in physical contests. I can’t speak for my female vegan friends, but most of the male vegans I know try to commit at least a couple vegan athlete names to memory as a defense against assaults on our masculinity.
The name that I most like to cite as evidence that vegans are capable of anything omnivores are is Scott Jurek. Scott Jurek is an ultramarathon runner who competes in races whose distances are regularly over a hundred miles in length. Like I said, I’m not a guy whose impressed easily, but when I read about the fifty-mile runs that Jurek does just in the course of training I’m blown away.
I read in the NY Times earlier in the week that Scott Jurek was running in a 24 hour race in France that ended at 4am EST while I was soundly asleep. I woke up to find out that Scott had finished second overall and I’ll admit, as a fellow vegan I felt a little swell of pride; I think that more than a few of us are keeping this race on standby to tell people that accuse us vegans of being “wimpy”.
Scott Jurek’s goal for the race was to beat the American record of 162 miles for the track, a goal he accomplished by three miles on top of his phenomenal placement overall.
In a world that is so ravaged by the environmental effects of agriculture, in a world where animals are killed by the billions to feed people, victories like Scott Jurek’s are not only personal victories for him, they’re victories for every person like myself who advocates for a plant-based diet to be able to say that the only thing holding you back from being the best at whatever you want is your own dedication and not your diet.
When people like Scott Jurek are breaking records on a vegan diet, it makes it hard for the rest of us to make excuses for not being vegan. So if you’ve been wondering if a vegan diet can work for them, now you know it can.
Photo: Steve and Deb on Picasa