During his college years, Jurek continued to compete in the Minnesota Voyageur, finishing second in 1994 and 1995 and winning the race in 1996, 1997, and 1998, when he set the current course record of 6:41:16. After graduation, he moved to Seattle, where he began competing on a national level, in 1998 winning the Zane Grey Highline Trail 50 Mile Run and the McKenzie River Trail Run 50K, and placing second in his first 100-mile race, the Angeles Crest.
In 1999, Jurek won the prestigious 100-mile Western States Endurance Run on his first attempt, defeating five-time champion Tim Twietmeyer and becoming only the second non-Californian to win the race. He would go on to win Western States a record seven straight times. In 2004, he bested Mike Morton’s 1997 time to set a new course record at the time of 15 hours and 36 minutes.
Over the next five years, Jurek notched victories in the McDonald Forest 50K (1999), the Bull Run Run 50 Mile (1999), the Leona Divide 50 Mile (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004), the Diez Vista 50K (2000-course record, 2003), the Silvertip 50K (2002), the Miwok 100K (2002, 2003, 2004). In 2004, he completed the “Ultra Running Grand Slam” by finishing Western States, the Leadville 100 (in which he was runner-up), the Vermont 100, and the Wasatch Front 100. He traveled to Hong Kong with Team Montrail to win the 2001 and 2002 OXFAM Trailwalker 100K team trophies, both years setting new course records. Jurek’s 2001 teammates were Dave Terry, Ian Torrence, and Nate McDowell. In 2002, he ran with McDowell, Brandon Sybrowsky, and Karl Meltzer. Jurek was also on the winning team of the 2003 Hasegawa Cup Japan Mountain Endurance Run.
In 2005, just a few weeks after winning Western States, Jurek set a new course record in the Badwater Ultramarathon, widely considered one of the world’s most difficult races. Jurek came from behind to win this race despite temperatures of 120 °F(49 °C), dealing with the heat by periodically stopping to immerse himself in a cooler of ice.
Jurek repeated his Badwater victory in 2006, a year that also saw his first of three consecutive victories in the Spartathlon, a 153-mile race between Athens and Sparta in Greece. Jurek is the only North American to ever win this race, and he holds the two fastest times on the course behind Yiannis Kouros. In 2007, he also won the Hardrock Hundred, setting a new course record at the time.
In 2006, Jurek traveled to Mexico’s remote Copper Canyon with a group of runners including Christopher McDougall and Jenn Shelton to participate in a race against the Tarahumara. Jurek narrowly lost to the fastest Tarahumara runner, Arnulfo Quimare, but in 2007 Jurek returned to win the race. McDougall’s best-selling book about the 2006 trip, “Born to Run,” significantly raised Jurek’s profile.
On May 14, 2010, in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, Jurek broke the USATF all-surface record for distance run by an American in 24 hours with 165.7 miles. His finish earned him a silver medal and helped the American men’s team take a bronze overall.
He was part of “Dozens of searchers” including of world class ultra-runners like himself and Kyle Skaggs) went to the remote wilderness to search for the inspirational ultramarathoner Micah True, who went missing and was found deceased. Chris McDougall tweeted: “Caballo had the only funeral he would have wanted: his friends spent days running in the wilderness in his honour.”
- United States record for 24 hour distance on all surfaces (165.7 Miles/266.01 Kilometers).
- Won the Spartathlon 152-mile (245 km) race from Athens to Sparta, Greece three consecutive times (2006-2008).
- Won the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run, and held the record time for one year until Kyle Skaggs set a new record in 2008.
- Won the Western States Endurance Run seven consecutive times (1999–2005), and held the record time (15:36:27 in 2004) until 2010
- Won the Badwater Ultramarathon twice (2005, 2006), and held the course record for two years (2005).
- Finished first three times (2002–2004) and second three times (2001, 2005, 2006) in the Miwok 100K Trail Race.
- Won the Leona Divide 50 Mile Run four times (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004).
- Won the Diez Vista 50K Trail Run twice (2000, 2003).
- Won the Montrail Ultra Cup series twice (2002, 2003).
- Selected as UltraRunning Magazine’s North American Male Ultrarunner of the Year in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2007.
Scott will hopefully be on episode 10 or 11 of Talk Ultra – check it out HERE