Which Ultra Run­ners Are Plant-Based Or Vegan?

Writ­ten By Chris Taylor

Chris is Oper­a­tions Man­ager at Ultra X and takes the lead on plan­ning new races and events. His interests include (and are lim­ited to): ultra run­ning, plant-based foods to eat whilst ultra run­ning, and ultra run­ning with dogs.

16 August 2020

0 Com­ments

Sub­mit a Com­ment

Your email address will not be pub­lished. Required fields are marked *

Read­ing Time: 7 minutes

Vegan­ism in the gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion has nev­er been more wide­spread and some of the biggest names in sport seem to be lead­ing the charge. High pro­file ath­letes such as Venus Wil­li­ams, Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic, and Alex Hon­nold are just a few of the fam­ous faces who have been exper­i­ment­ing with a plant-based diet, and openly dis­cuss­ing the health and per­form­ance bene­fits they’ve exper­i­enced.

The vegan move­ment with­in the sport­ing world has been fur­ther bolstered by doc­u­ment­ar­ies such as The Game Changers and From The Ground Up, which fea­ture some of the world’s best plant-based ath­letes tout­ing the pos­it­ive impact a vegan diet has had on their suc­cess.

Recently, we pondered why vegan­ism seems to be more pro­lif­ic in ultra run­nning than any oth­er sport. Below, we list some of the best known ultra run­ners that fol­low a plant-based diet. Leave a com­ment at the bot­tom if there are any we’ve missed!

Scott Jurek

A sev­en-time win­ner of West­ern States 100, Scott is argu­ably the greatest ultra run­ner of all time. He switched to a plant-based diet in 1999, the year he won his first West­ern States, and often cred­its vegan­ism for his dom­in­ant suc­cess. Scott has even pub­lished a book detail­ing his diet­ary philo­sophy, Eat & Run. Put simply, no oth­er ath­lete has had a big­ger influ­ence on the rise of vegan­ism amongst ultra run­ners.

Lucy Bartho­lomew

Des­pite being just 24 years old, Lucy is already some­what of a house­hold name in the ultra run­ning cir­cuit. She ran her first 100km aged 15, and has since racked up a slew of impress­ive res­ults, includ­ing wins at Ultra-Trail Cape Town and Ultra-Trail Aus­tralia, and third place at West­ern States. She has been vegan 2016 and says: “The biggest bene­fit I’m noti­cing is my abil­ity to recov­er and race and train at a high level. I have a lot of energy.”

Rich Roll

Although not solely an ultra run­ner, Rich is an ultra-endur­ance machine. He’s pre­vi­ously fin­ished second at Ultra­man (which involves a double-mara­thon run leg) and once did 5 Iron­man triath­lons in 5 days on 5 dif­fer­ent Hawaii­an islands. Rich turned vegan when his health took a nose­dive at 40, and is now one of the most prom­in­ent advoc­ates of a plant-based life­style. You can find vegan meal plans in his book, Find­ing Ultra.

Elisa­bet Barnes

A Swedish ultra run­ner spe­cial­ising in multi-stage events, Elisa­bet has a string of world class per­form­ances under her belt, includ­ing win­ning the icon­ic Mara­thon des Sables twice. She exper­i­mented with her diet for sev­er­al years before turn­ing vegan for the per­form­ance and recov­ery bene­fits she exper­i­enced.

Brendan Bra­zi­er

A former pro­fes­sion­al Iron­man triath­lete and ultra run­ner, Brendan was twice crowned Cana­dian 50km cham­pi­on. He’s been vegan since the start of his career and is now a nutri­tion­al con­sult­ant. He’s writ­ten sev­er­al best­selling books about nutri­tion and also co-foun­ded Vega, a line of plant-based food products and sup­ple­ments.

Fiona Oakes

Often referred to as “the greatest run­ner you’ve nev­er heard of”, Fiona holds four World Records, includ­ing being the fast­est woman to run a mara­thon on every con­tin­ent. She’s been vegan since she was 6 years old and co-foun­ded Vegan Run­ners in 2004. Her attempt at the 2017 Mara­thon des Sables was doc­u­mented in the film, Run­ning for Good.

Tre­vor Fuchs

After smoking a daily pack of cigar­ettes in his young­er years, Tre­vor recom­mit­ted to fit­ness in his late-20s and soon dis­covered a tal­ent for ultra run­ning. He’s won the Wasatch 100 twice and placed second at HURT100 in 2019. Tre­vor has been vegan since he star­ted run­ning and says giv­ing up dairy changed his life.

Helen Fines

Helen is a Brit­ish veter­in­ary sur­geon and moun­tain run­ner who has rep­res­en­ted her coun­try at long dis­tance moun­tain run­ning numer­ous times. She won the Eng­lish and Brit­ish Fell Run­ning Cham­pi­on­ships in 2013. Helen turned vegan in 2009 aftrer becom­ing dis­il­lu­sioned with the way anim­als are exploited for human gain.

Yassine Diboun

Yassine is an exper­i­enced ultra run­ner with a num­ber of impres­sice res­ults on his CV, includ­ing top ten fin­ishes at West­ern States 100 and HURT100. He turned vegan in 2008 and feels that energy and recov­ery rates are pos­it­ively affected by a plant-based diet: “I felt great inside and out ever since. Hon­estly I don’t see myself going back.”

Son­dre Amdahl

Swedish ultra run­ner Son­dre has won or podi­umed a num­ber of icon­ic ultra mara­thon and clocked a top ten fin­ish at UTMB in 2014. He’s been plant-based since 2013 and com­ments: “I feel that a vegetarian/vegan diet helps me recov­er a lot faster. And I just feel bet­ter!” He’s also mar­ried to fel­low vegan ultra run­ner Elisa­bet Barnes (see above).

Vlad Ixel

Vlad star­ted run­ning in 2012 and turned vegan shortly after­ward. The 33-year-old Ukrain­i­an is a North Face ath­lete and one of the fore­most run­ners in Asia. He’s already won more than 40 ultramara­thons in his short career and often sets new course records, includ­ing at The North Face 100, which he’s won twice.

Catra Corbett

Catra has com­peted in more than 250 ultramara­thons, includ­ing over a hun­dred 100 milers. She often wins races out­right (beat­ing every­one in both the women’s and men’s fields) and holds the over­all record for com­plet­ing the John Muir Trail twice (a total of 424 miles). She turned vegan to clean up her life­style after bat­tling drug addic­tion for sev­er­al years.

Tim Van Orden

Tim Van Orden has been crowned US Mas­ters Trail Cham­pi­on an incred­ible 10 times and is a four-time US Run­ner of the Year. He turned vegan in 1998 and became a raw vegan in 2004, exclud­ing all cooked and pro­cessed foods. He describes how his diet has had a hol­ist­ic pos­it­ive impact on his life in his book, A Com­pas­sion­ate Approach.

Tony Riddle

Pop­ularly known as “The Nat­ur­al Life-Styl­ist”, Tony has devoted his life to devel­op­ing tech­niques for liv­ing nat­ur­ally in the mod­ern world. In 2019, he ran 874 miles bare­foot across Great Bri­tain to sup­port envir­on­ment­al sus­tain­ab­il­ity. Tony has writ­ten extens­ively about diet and lives a plant-based life­style.

Kate Pal­lardy

Kate is an Amer­ic­an ath­lete who’s been run­ning at an elite level for 15 years. She’s pre­vi­ously won the JFK 50 and UTMB’s MCC. She went plant-based more than 10 years ago and cred­its vegan­ism for her suc­cess: “I felt bet­ter and bet­ter. Then my per­form­ances got bet­ter and bet­ter and bet­ter. I got lean­er.”

Denis Mikhaylove

After ditch­ing a career in fin­ance, Denis star­ted run­ning in 2010 and quickly became a world-class ath­lete. He won a num­ber of races, includ­ing The North Face 50 and Vir­gil Crest 100 and set a world record 12 hour tread­mill in 2015. He is entirely vegan and eats almost a com­pletely raw diet.

Dami­an Stoy

Dami­an has been a prom­in­ent ultra run­ner since 2006. He’s won and podi­umed at races all over Amer­ica, yet he con­siders his greatest achieve­ment to be run­ning injury free for more than 10 years. Dami­an attrib­utes this impress­ive feat to his plant-based diet, which he’s been fol­low­ing since 2000.

Alberto Pelaez Ser­rano

An exper­i­enced ultramara­thon­er, Alberto has sev­er­al impress­ive res­ults on his resume, includ­ing a three-peat at Ultramara­thon of Lan­zarote and a top ten fin­ish at UTMB’s CCC. He’s won twelve ultras in total and uses his notori­ety to pro­mote vegan­ism in the sport, wear­ing an “I don’t eat anim­als” t-shirt on podi­ums world­wide.

Sarah Cot­ton

Sarah is a pro­fes­sion­al Under Armour ultra run­ner and coach. As a vegan, she believes that ultra run­ners are more likely to adopt a sus­tain­able diet as they spend more time out­doors: “Per­son­ally, this makes me feel more con­nec­ted to earth, and I guess it just feels right to use Moth­er Nature the way it was inten­ded.”

Eimanne Zein

A mod­el turned act­ress and dir­ect­or liv­ing in Cali­for­nia, Eimanne made the shift to vegan­ism after run­ning her first 50 miler. She was heav­ily influ­enced by Scott Jurek’s book Eat & Run, and dis­cusses the bene­fits of a vegan diet for endur­ance ath­letes on her You­Tube chan­nel, Act­ress Adven­turess.

Alister Gard­ner

Alister is an ultra run­ner for the Cana­dian Moun­tain Run­ning Team. His best res­ults include smash­ing the course record at the 100 mile Mont Bremont Ultra Trail in 2017, and fin­ish­ing in the top twenty at UTMB’s CCC. He turned vegan in 2012 after dis­cov­er­ing “the hid­den truth of mod­ern farm­ing”.

0 Com­ments

Sub­mit a Com­ment

Your email address will not be pub­lished. Required fields are marked *

You may also like…