In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world's greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.
Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence.
With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a 50-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.
With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultrarunners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons.
Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.
©2009 Knopf; (P)2009 Random House
"Equal parts quest, physiology treatise, and running history....[McDougall] seeks to learn the secrets of the Tarahumara the old-fashioned way: He tracks them down....The climactic race reads like a sprint....It simply makes you want to run." (Outside Magazine)
"Hugely entertaining. . . . One of the most joyful and engaging books about running to appear for many years." (The Irish Times)
A terrific ride, recommended for any athlete." (Kirkus)
The book gets into some anthropology and also ultra distance running, also had some entertaining and quirky characters, which were real persons. I enjoyed it but I am a runner and also interested in human evolution, not sure this book would appeal to everyone.
The book has an interesting story to tell, but a complicated one, with various timelines, cultural and biological perspectives, races, characters, etc. I think I would've enjoyed it more if I'd read instead of listened to it, because at some point it was just like "and then there's this amazing runner who was in this amazing race" and I lost track of the connections some times. A small portion of the book was also quite heavy on the biological/physiological aspect of running. I run in my free time and like knowing about the running world and exercise physiology, so if you do too I recommend this book. I'd say it's a max 4-star for non-runners.
I work a lot. I can listen to books while I work. My new hobby. Thank God I can multi-task!
I have. Very inspirational and informative.
The scientific research that establishes that man is a natural runner.
I love this book. My new favorire
Yes, I very well might listen again to review the insights and scientific findings on why we run and how to do so efficiently and without injury.
Caballo's final talk before the race. It was right on the mark, and quite moving for me.
How Long Distance Running Could Change the World
This book took me a bit by surprise. I was expecting a book about the science of these super-athletes, based on where they filed it, but that wasn't the case. The book largely takes you through ultra marathons and common characters competing therein, but only glances on the things that are discovered because of the study. It's a good story yes, but I expected to hear more about how running has evolved and less about a run in Leadville, CO and/or runs that involved the same group of people traveling about.
Is it still worth a listen? Absolutely. Just make sure you understand what you're going into. I wished I had this piece prior to listening if only to set my own expectations.
I focus mainly on History, Endurance Sports and Science/Speculative Fiction books.
Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is not literature, and does not pretend to be. This is a a true life account of some remarkable athletes, and the beginnings of a sport that even today is pretty underground. I enjoyed it tremendously. Interspersed with accounts of the primary races, were short bios of the main competitors, and a thorough (if controversial) treatment of the cause of many running injuries. But fundamentally this is an amateur ethnography of a fascinating people in a remote part of the world that many of us will never travel to.
As an amateur athlete I am always impressed about people who play a sport for the pure love of the spore; because it gives them joy and enriches their lives. Ultimately this book describes that approach to athletics, although within the confined of a sport I cannot comprehend. To say that ultra-marathoners are a breed apart in an understatement, this books paints that picture perfectly.
It would be hard no to select Micah True, a hippie philosopher king who dedicated his life to something so obscure that he becomes the hero to many.
Fist off this is not a book on how to run. There are sections that describe the evolution of running shoes and design influences on training. What I got out of the books was to follow your passion, but make sure that passion is not motivated by money or fame. It you follow that path happiness is yours. This was not approached in a heavy handed way in the book, but McDougal painted this picture with humor and great story telling.
I have ready some criticism of this book and some of it is fair and some not. Sure, the author paints some characters in a Gonzo style that some might find a bit too much. I personally got a kick out of it. Others have said that some characters like Ann Trason were painted in a poor light. I think the author was fair to all, within the confines of a popular book. I came away with the utmost respect for Ann and others in this book, and lets face it, ultra marathoners can be a little quirky. It all made for a great read. I highly recommend this book.
Avid reader all of my life! Favorite author: Stephen King. Favorite book: Hyperion.
An absolute must-listen. A truly inspiring story that has made me have a new love for running; and certainly convinced me that humans are "born to run". Everyone needs to listen to this book and then take its advice: running and eating healthy. I truly believe it would reduce the obesity and unhealthiness in the American population.
Very humorous at times, wonderful and interesting characters, a fantastic finish.
I found out about this book after watching some youtube videos about running, since I was having some pain in my hip after running.
After this book, I had a better understanding of running itself, and why my hip was hurting. I follow its advice and everything got fixed! no pain!
Besides the content of this book, which is great and inspiring, the performance is great. It gets you involved and connected to the characters.
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