The Wisdom of Hippie Dan
And how I ran my first ultra, the 1994 Minnesota Voyageur 50-Miler
An excerpt from the forthcoming book by Scott Jurek with with Steve Friedman
Due to last-minute design changes, some of the text in the print version (June 2012, Issue 80) of this excerpt was repeated and deleted. We are very sorry, and offer this complete and correct online version.
Illustration by Meg Bisharat
The more you know, the less you need.
People are always asking me the same question. Why, when I could stay in shape with a 25-minute jog, do I train for 5 hours at a time? Why, when I could run a perfectly civilized marathon, would I choose to run four of them back-to-back? Why, instead of gliding over shaded tracks, would I take on Death Valley in the height of summer? Am I masochistic? Addicted to endorphins? Is there something deep down inside that I am running from? Or am I seeking something I never had?
At the beginning of college I ran because of Dusty. It was the summer after my freshman year. Dusty was living with guys in a place they called the House of Gravity. One of his roommates was a champion downhill skier, another was a world-class mountain biker. Dusty was bunking in the attic, where the temperature could drop to –20 degrees, and slept in a down winter sleeping bag from the army surplus store. They called it the House of Gravity because they smoked from a gigantic bong so often that much of the time they couldn’t get up. They decided the field of gravity was greater in that house than anywhere else. They even attached the bong to a rope so they could swing it from one person to another.