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)
McDougall is well-placed in the Esquire tradition of creative non-fiction, in the daunting footsteps of Gay Talese. It is a "true" story, but the quotation marks are necessary, because McDougall (and most writers in this style) describe countless scenes they did not witness and--no matter how good their research--they could not know the thoughts people had and have, as portrayed here. As is often said, they use fictional techniques to tell a non-fictional story.
McDougall does a smashing job of ordering the telling of the story, with long flashbacks and sidetracks adding richness and depth to the main, protagonist-centered story line. It's clear why and how the book became an influential bestseller--it is hard to stop listening. It got me running again! Albeit, nothing like the distances these delightful wackos are doing.
The performance is first-rate, but I have to mention a huge gaffe right at the start. Is there an editor listening at Knopf Doubleday? No one noticed, apparently, that the narrator gets the title wrong--completely reversing the meaning of the subtitle! Not the narrator's fault. An editor is supposed to catch things like that--certainly in the title! He does a great job with all that Spanish and Tarahumaran pronunciation.
A great read even for non-athletes. The history and science seemed well-sourced, but it was not dry or "self helpish" .
Could have lived without hearing his theory of evolution, which was woven throughout the book. But his personal story of running with the hidden tribe, and the characters that joined him on his journey are will worth getting past hearing his personal believes of evolution. Still this was the best written book I have heard all year. Truly, a well written piece of non-fiction that I highly recommend even through I disagree with his person theory.
This book is so compelling that it will make you want to go for 30 mile run. The book is well written, and the reader is excellent.
I love how Christopher McDougall wove the scientific studies in-between the story (fascinating, real-life characters). I struggle with science even though I want to know…. I’m just want entertaining science.
Jenn Shelton: "I've never really discussed this with anyone bc it sounds pretentious, but I started running ultras to become a better person. I thought if you could run 100 miles, you’d be in this Zen state…. You’d be the f*(!ing Buddha, bringing peace and a smile to the world. It didn’t work in my case; I’m the same old punk @ss as before, but there’s always that hope that it will turn you into the person you want to be… a better, more peaceful person.”
Nope. I would like to listen to more.
You Were Born To Run (my brain isn't really made for creativity).
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
Haven't run a mile since high school and enjoyed this book anyway. Story weaves people, running theory, events and history. Learned tons and who knows I might throw away the Nike's and try to run again. Anybody know how to brew Chia?
The author's way of weaving multiply characters into a story without confusing the reader. He always goes back and continues with the original story after heading off on a soapbox. I've never visited this area of the United States and Mexico, but by listening to this book the audience gets a detail account of the geography and culture.
When spanish words are used, the english translation follows. Woven throughout the book, small stories of how the culture like drug gangs, native people, and visitors to the area shape the Mexican landscape.
His voice is perfect for this audiobook. easy listening.
Perfect book for a long run whether a 5k, 1/2 marathon or more.
Terrific story. Very motivating for competitive or casual runners. Non runners will be intrigued as well. Good narration and character development. Best book I've listened to in a long time.
Yes, to refresh my memory on the details
A story about Leadville race and a chapter about antropological studies that support the idea that humans are built to run
Nothing has disappointed me yet.
Can't think of anything.
I haven't finished this yet, but agree with all the other positive reviews the book has received. It is part story, part biology, part archaeology, and part amazing. Can't wait to finish.
Maybe but not soon, the information was so good I will not forget it.
He was good.
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