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)
Say something about yourself!
It did inspire me to get back outside and run. I have also started running barefoot. We'll see how that works out. :)
This is one of the BEST books I've ever read/listened to. I feel so informed and it was such a pleasure - both the thoroughly engaging story, and the excellent narration: enthusiastic without being overly energetic or annoying. As if the narrator is as enthralled as the listener - just excellent.
You won't be disappointed - even if you are not athletic!
Excellent performance and tale based in truth.
The emphasis on how our actions can bring joy, especially those that are rooted in love.
The comments about the Mexican race seem to put them up on a pedestal. I am certain they too have their faults, being human, though viewing them in a positive light was inspiring.
First of all, let me say that it is nearly impossible to listen to this book and not be motivated to buy a pair of less cushioned running shoes and set out for a 100 mile trail run. As was my experience, you probably won't get very far, but the motivation factor with every minute of audio crescendos constantly.
Highly educational and amazing to learn that a super-athlete tribe such as the Hara Kumara (sp) could have been overlooked and gone under the radar for so long. This audiobook also provides great insights into the world of ultra-running in general.. the pains, rewards, and excruciatingly arduous time and effort required.
I am a horrible book reader but audible has changed my life. I now feel like I have access to what the "smart people" know. I also have a new level of confidence based on my new knowledge.
If you haven't seen the TED presentation by Chris McD, this might be a good book.
Have more interesting content around running barefoot. In His TED presentation, I was glued to my computer. In the book, he spoke about people who I never really connected with. I almost felt like I was being forced to care.
I kept listening because I thought he was going to get to more of the interesting running unknowns. However, this book never reveals anything more than what was in his TED presentation.
Caballo blanco, Jen, bone head. A chapter dedicated to Jen background never became interesting and I never felt connected. He did a good job of making the white horse mysterious but I lost interest in him and when more humanizing aspects of him were revealed, I didn't care and didn't connect.
I hated to give your book a 1 star. Your TED presentation was so great that I told everyone I knew about it. I wanted more, so I bought your book. My advice is that you have figured out to make an extremely compelling case for running barefoot, now figure out how to make a compelling case to care about your characters.
This was groundbreaking work and you have undoubtedly make $millions. I wish I had known about this when I competitively ran.
While I have not run out and joined ultra-marathoning like most people who've read this book, I can confirm I have tried on some "barefoot" running shoes and am contemplating dipping my toes in the water and drinking the "barefoot running" Kool-Aid. I love non-fiction. I love good story-telling. I love science. This book was the trifecta of all three.
Always thought of running as a chore. This great book changed that. A wonderful combination of a good story and important information.
This book tells the tale of a man on a search for the perfect run... it's amusing, inspiring and motivating. I really enjoyed it. I also think it would be a great book for a non-runner looking for motivation and an amusing tale.
One problem, though. The author really thinks himself a WRITER, complete with overuse of metaphors. It became a little annoying, but I'm willing to blame that on me being much too picky.
I like stories about non-mainstream people and thinking and this is certainly one. Particularly in the early days of ultra marathoning, ideas and notions about what was possible seemed to be just forming. I appreciated the references to barefoot running - such as the idea that running team's injuries increased with "better" shoes. And the stories about the tribes and what factors contributed to making them great runners and how changes in their culture affected this.
I never read the print. N/A
A couple parts. The race a Leadville was very suspensful, but I would say Chapter 21 when McDougal gets into the history of the running shoe and the anatomy of the foot really drove message home for me.
Very expressive in portraying multiple characters as well as the humor in some of the delivery. He seemed very capable of conveying the authors thoughts and intentions.
It made me change the way I run. It made me think.
This book started a movement but it's more than just a passing fad. Learning what your body is capable of and how, for the most part, we've been duped into buying foot casts for the better part of 40 years, is mind boggling. Through first hand accounts and scientific data, Christopher MCDougal weaves a tremendous story of our natural and human desire to run. This desire has been drained from us by shoe companies promising a comfortable ride. In the end we have become a nation of injuries waiting to happen. It's time to get back to our roots and run the way we we've evolved to run. I recommend this book to everyone.
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