This is part 2 of my vegan athlete interview series. Read Part 1 here.
What I’ve learned from meeting vegan friends, runners or non-runners, is that we all seem to have discovered and transitioned to this lifestyle through one or many relevant reasons. Whether it stemmed from the desire to improve one’s health, animal ethics, environmental, or economic, our reasons alone are enough to not go back to old lifestyle habits. However, some might say that a vegan lifestyle is restrictive or extreme. Isn’t open-heart or gastric bypass surgery more extreme? Is being consciously aware, at least on a moderate level, of what we are ingesting into our bodies, an extreme habit? Despite the plethora of peer-reviewed scientific literature on the health benefits of a balanced vegan diet, I feel that there will still be critics challenging every fiber in our mind that this diet/lifestyle doesn’t work.
We all know that this advice holds true when our toughest critic questions about our life, diet, career, etc: don’t care about what they think. I still have friends and family members that ask me, “Are you still doing the vegan thing?” It’s astounding that some would think veganism is a fad diet. I have even gotten shocked facial expressions from some friends when I tell them that eating plants has given me more consistent energy levels throughout the day. Yes, vegans and vegetarians can be susceptible to nutrient deficiencies. It takes proper planning to ensure you are not missing any key nutrients in your diet. Vegans aren’t the only ones that can become nutrient deficient. An individual eating only meat and potatoes every day is not a balanced diet (at least in my opinion). Optimal absorption of nutrients is critical too. It is surprising to me that boiling is still one of the preferred methods to cook vegetables, such as cabbage. For example, there has been a documented 66% loss in Thiamine (Vitamin B1) and 60% loss of Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) in cabbage as a result of boiling. So yes, if you boil all your food or fry it to a crisp, then you could turn out to be a nutrient deficient vegan. Instead of isolating potential negative implications of a vegan diet, taking a moment to research what an optimal vegan diet consists of is my kind recommendation. For now, let’s get to the exciting part of this post.
As I alluded to in Part 1 of this series, it is a refreshing feeling to connect with other vegan athlete friends, even if I haven’t or never get an opportunity to meet them. We share a commonality that bonds us, similar to any other friendship. The interviews from Part 1 focused on shorter distance runners, whereas the following interviews below are focused on the marathon and ultramarathon distances. This shows that a wide range of success exists within the vegan running community, ranging from 800m to ultramarathons.
I hope you enjoy the following interviews below and stay tuned for Part 3 of this series, where I reveal my reasons for training on a vegan diet, what a typical day of food consumption is like, and my upcoming training goals.
- Linn Tyhurst
- Dillion Emery
- Venus Turner
- Jackson Long
Are you part of a track club?
Linn Tyhurst: I run for Oiselle Volee
Dillon Emery: Part of Mountain Hobos running team. Founder of Mountain Hobos.
Venus Turner: Unfortunately not.
Jackson Long: Rocky Mountain Runners
How long have you been running?
Linn Tyhurst: 10 years
Dillon Emery: Running for about 6 years competitively
Venus Turner: 6 years
Jackson Long: About 3 months
What distances do you focus on?
Linn Tyhurst: Half and full marathon
Dillon Emery: Ultra running. Distances ranging from 50k to eventually 100miles.
Venus Turner: Marathons
Jackson Long: I am focused on training for a 50 mile ultra! So long distances…
Any highlights or PBs of your running career?
Linn Tyhurst: 3:38 in my 3rd marathon (2015) and 1:40 in the Half Marathon.
Dillon Emery: 9:34 2 mile, 4:30 mile, longest distance ran 38 miles.
Venus Turner: My best PB has been my second half marathon. I shaved off 19 minutes on that half marathon, winning 1st on age group and 5th overall.
Jackson Long: I’m brand new! But I was 2nd overall at the O2X Summit Challenge in Winter Park this past summer.
Are you vegan/vegetarian and how long?
Linn Tyhurst: Vegan for 8 years
Dillon Emery: Vegan for 1 year and 9 months
Venus Turner: Was vegetarian for 4 years and have been vegan for 3 years.
Jackson Long: Vegan for 1.5yrs
What led you to that diet/lifestyle?
Linn Tyhurst: Mostly my love of animals. I was raised on a farm and knew how amazing cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys could be and I never felt like it was right to eat them. I finally realized that for me to be fully ethical, I would not be able to support the industry of killing. I started with a 1 week vegan trial and never went back. That was June 2007, when I started training for my first full marathon.
Dillon Emery: Originally found out about a raw vegan ultra runner Michael Arnstein. The Health benefits a of vegan diet got me interested and when I discovered the ethical catastrophes I decided veganism was something I had to undertake morally.
Venus Turner: Animal Rights.
Jackson Long: Health reasons, I was struggling with nutrition and health and learned about the benefits of a plant based lifestyle to promote health and athletic performance.
How has your diet impacted your training?
Linn Tyhurst: I hadn’t been running for very long before I became vegan, so it’s hard to say exactly. But I know one big thing that changed was just being more aware of what I was eating. Trying new, healthier options and finding better ways to fuel my workouts. Also, I am very lactose intolerant and had terrible digestive issues before becoming vegan, so that change has been very good.
Dillon Emery: Veganism gives me excellent muscle recovery and endurance to run 90+ miles a week with limited pains. Airways feel much more clear and breathing is much less labored.
Venus Turner: I don’t know because I started running after I became vegetarian. I do notice that I usually have more energy and recover faster than my run mates.
Jackson Long: My recovery has drastically improved, I sleep better, and it is much easier to maintain a healthy and optimal weight.
Do you have any favorite vegan athletes that inspire you?
Linn Tyhurst: Oh yes! Scott Jurek of course!
Dillon Emery: Scott Jurek(ultra runner), Michael Arnstein(ultra runner), Ford Palmer, Rich Roll, Ruth Heidrich, Carl Lewis.
Venus Turner: Fiona Oakes and quite a few regular people on Instagram.
Jackson Long: Scott Jurek, Rich Roll, and Torre Washington.
Do you take any supplements (please list)?
Linn Tyhurst: Currently I take a Women’s Multivitamin, Iron, Calcium, Turmeric and Magnesium. I’ve gone back and forth on supplements for years, sometimes taking them, sometimes not.
Dillon Emery: Vegan multi vitamin, vitamin D(winter), iron occasionally.
Venus Turner: Multi vitamin, Vitamin D and Iron.
Jackson Long: I take B12 (absolutely necessary for vegans and perhaps omnivores as well), a whole food iron supplement (I’ve had low iron even before I was vegan so just maintaining it).
What is your favorite vegan dish?
Linn Tyhurst: That’s hard to say, there are SO many amazing dishes! I do really love a good vegan pizza or enchiladas if I’m cooking at home. For eating out, I love creative dishes that really highlight how amazing vegan food can be!
Dillon Emery: Amy’s vegan pizza or potato fries.
Venus Turner: That is a very hard question :)…. I want to say raw vegan lasagna.
Jackson Long: Huge bowl of rice, beans, salsa, avocado, vegetables, all rolled up in a whole wheat tortilla (or 3). Followed by a bowl of banana “nice” cream.
What’s your favorite vegan restaurant?
Linn Tyhurst: It has always been Millenium (formerly in SF, now in Oakland) but after eating at Sanctuary Bistro (Berkeley), it might be my new favorite!
Dillon Emery: The Stand (Laguna Beach, CA).
Venus Turner: There is a mom and pop restaurant here in Houston called Field of Greens and it is awesome!
Jackson Long: Gracias Madre in Los Angeles.
What motivates you to continue training and only eating plants?
Linn Tyhurst: For me, not supporting something that causes suffering in innocent animals (not to mention environmental and health concerns), is enough motivation to keep eating plants! For training, I get a lot of motivation by competing in races and trying to get better times. Plus I just love to stay active and be healthy. I also am inspired daily by athletes I have connected with on Instagram or other social media.
Dillon Emery: I simply love everything that running provides for me and I could not imagine having another life taken for my gluttony and frankly it would hinder my performance to eat animals.
Venus Turner: Endorphins motivate me to run and animals suffering and pain keep me vegan.
Jackson Long: The atrocities that are committed to animals and the planet inspire me to be the best example of an athlete that I can, and continue to help people change their life through diet.
Do you have a website or social media that others can follow?
Venus Turner: Instagram and Twitter: @vegrunchica.