Yassine Diboun is an ultra distance runner of Moroccan/American descent who lives in America.
Since 2007 he has won twelve races, ten of which were thirty miles and above. He has 25 top three finishes at 30 miles and above. His results include 100 miles completed in 16 hours 43 minutes and 1 second.
In 2011 he set the record for the Wildwood Trail which is 30.3 miles through Oregon, and next year he set the record for running out and back on the trail.
In 2013 he qualified for the Western States 100 mile event, one the most prestigious ultras in the world. He finished 9th in a tough field with temperatures at the second hottest in the 40 year history.
Yassine spoke to us a few months after the race, which he described as his greatest achievement.
“It is an extremely competitive race on a tough course through the mountains in California which almost always includes very hot temperatures. Finishing in the top ten at this event is a pretty big deal and has been one of my goals for a few years now. It was a race that I will never forget!”
In 2016 he joined two other runners for a successful attempt of the speed record for a supported team running the 453 mile crossing of Oregon. Read more here.
Yassine turned vegan in September 2008. “My wife had been reading about it, and I had been listening to podcasts by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (Compassionate Cooks). Myth after myth was de-bunked in a smart, scientific, and non-condescending way and I was actually blown away by how naive and close-minded, and/or brainwashed I was in certain areas.” He also saw a documentary by vegan actor Woody Harrelson called "Go Further" that stimulated thought about animals and ecology.
The change had plenty of positive effects . “I felt great inside and out ever since. Honestly I don't see myself going back.”
He now eats a big variety of fruits and vegetables in large quantities to fuel his long distances.
Yassine is one of a number of ultra distance runners who are vegan and we asked him about some of the people like Scott Jurek, Rich Roll, Catra Corbett and Brendan Brazier. He felt that energy and recovery rates may be positively affected by a plant based diet.
“I think more and more endurance athletes are realizing that it is not necessary to consume animal products in order to excel, and in fact are shown many benefits such as speedy recovery and more energy (that has been the experience with me). Many of the aforementioned vegan athletes inspired me to give it a try and I appreciate all the work they have done in this area.”
Yassine continues to train and will be participating in more of the tough events that the ultramarathon world offers.
“The act of running is more than just a means of fitness and exercise, it is largely about the self satisfaction, sense of empowerment, and intrinsic rewards gained. Running is also a spiritual practice and a form of meditation and "therapy" for me. One of my favourite "running philosophers" is Dr. George Sheehan and I love some of his quotes. Here is an example:
"There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be."
No Meat Athlete is a great running resource Full disclosure: 50% of any book you buy on there goes to support this website but there's also a ton of free resources there