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)
A thoroughly well-written and inspiring read for the person who feels the athlete in their soul. I couldn't stop listening to it …the storytelling is touching and endlessly intriguing! I listened to it on my runs, on my way to the office and on 5-minute drives - whatever time I could squeeze in. Guaranteed I will read it again in a few years when I need the motivation again!
A great listen. This was a very intriguing book I listened to while running. I'm very happy to say it inspired me and brought many a smile to my face during my runs. At times, McDougall stops in the middle of a story, to tell another story which helps provide further background and detail to the original story. Sometimes I forgot there was an original, unfinished story to begin with until he returned to it. Of course, part of this could have been from the fact that I was running and getting tired. Either way, I got so much enjoyment out of it the first time, I will listen to this book again and suggest you do, too.
The portion of the story about the race was interesting but I thought the most interesting part of the book was by far the scientific explanations as well as theories as to why we, humans, are born to run.
The story part about the race with the Tarahumara and Cabayo Blanco is interesting but I thought the author pressed a little hard on the superlatives. You will encounter a mention about something being the most _something_ in the whole world every two sentences, which got old pretty quick for me.
Yes, because I learned that there really is no limit to what the human body can endure
This is the first one. If flowed pretty well.
Yes, but it was hard for me to listen for more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
Probably not. It was interesting but not to the point where I would go see it in the movie theaters.
After reading the book I ended up buying a pair of minimum running shoes to see if it will improve my running performance.
McDougall no. Sanders yes. I really dont go for fiction and I honestly had to check twice if it was non fiction. It reminded me of my drunk uncles fishing stories. Colorful, fun and creative and based on some real facts yet ginned up for dramatic sake I am a life long runner and was excited to to read a book about distance running. The story is melded with some science and history of running. Characters were well developed. The non linear writing style appeals to me. Much of the book seems to be promoting minimal running shoes and the copper canyon running event.
McDougall references science and running experts to promote his idea, and cites resume and accomplishments of individuals. Then he goes on about Nike being the evil of running and in particular founder / coach bill Bowerman. He denigrates Bowerman as sort of a greed motivated coach who knew little about running. This was very dishonest journalism regardless of whether or not you love or hate Nike or what you think of Bowerman. as for Bowerman coach at University of Oregon his accomplishments stand for themselves, he is a snippet of what McDugall conveniently omitted. "Over his career, he trained 31 Olympic athletes, 51 All-Americans, 12 American record-holders, 24 NCAA champions and 16 sub-4 minute milers"
I really liked much of the book, it gives a very limited perspective of Ultra running. And the use of Hyperbole is just too much for me to give this more than 3 stars.
Im sure it will want to go out and run and some valuable tools and knowledge can be gleaned from the book.
Reminds me of 3 cups of tea, kind of felt sad that the author couldnt write the story with Authenticity.
The story of Human Language
the south African guy following the tribe about doing research.
yep...of course. it would appeal to anyone who bought Shape up shoes. made for TV .
What could be a more boring book than one about people who run super long distances? Don't buy this book unless you are a runner with an unusual fascination with other people's running feats.
Narration was okay. Would be nice if the narrator could mimic voices.
I lost 11 hours of my life that I'll never get back after listening to this lame book.
Bought this book to use credits. Got one of my favorite books of all time. Part collection of some of the eccentric characters that seem to be prevalent in ultra marathoning, part ultra marathon history, part lesson in the science of running. Stars of the show are the Tarahumaras of the Mexican Sierra Madre, a close community famous for running and their out of control corn beer infused parties. Barefoot Ted, Czech running revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, Billy and Jen, the hard partying former lifeguard couple, and Caballo Blanco are other characters that make this book a fun read/ listen
As a former runner, I related to everything in this book. It has modivated me to get back out on the road. Very entertaining, very informative.
What I loved best was how the author interspersed the stories of the "Running People" with his own personal athletic history, evolution, biology, and the history of modern athletic consumer products. This book was so fascinating to me, I have been driving my husband and friends crazy by repeatedly sharing things I've learned from the book.
I am not an avid runner, but it certainly inspired me to want to take off my shoes and run through the woods.
I have not read the print version of the book, but there are not charts referenced or a lot of statistics to come back to so I don't think the print version would be better or worse than the print version. I found the book so motivational and interesting that I listened to it while running, which would not be possible for me in print version.
The book did a very nice job of mixing in several different stories as well as research information. Informative and entertaining.
The narrator does a good job. He differentiates voices enough so it is easy to differentiate who is speaking and gives them a little extra character.
It's a long enough title already. Doesn't need another one :).
This was a great book. I have been a jogger / marathoner for 5 years and this book has inspired me in a way other articles and books have not to hit the pavement more frequently and feel better about the time I devote to running.
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