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)
From the very first words this book felt like it was written for me. The type of book that you wish would go on forever. If you have ever ran in your life this book is for you. If you have ever gotten injured running this book is a must for you. I am an ultramarathon runner and have a degree in cultural anthropology and feel that this book should be mandatory reading for people who participate in either realm.
This fascinated me and confirmed one of my suspicions that when we adapt artificially, we do not allow our bodies to adapt naturally so we get hurt more easily. Natural is better.
I loved this audio book. I could not put my iPod down, and got so wound up in the subplots. There were times I felt a part of the story having struggled with running myself. I'm also more motivated to run and am scouring the net to learn more about the runners, foods, and other details from the book. I wish every book did this for me!
This has been the most enjoyable non-fiction audio book I've listened to in a long time.
It's a fantastic adventure with wild real-life characters. I have a bunch of new heroes now, and have had fun putting together my own "epilogue" by reading the websites & blogs of the characters in the book.
Born To Run also ties in evolution, anthropology, history, and marketing with running. Made me very glad I'd switched to running in Vibrams.
I enjoyed this book but more importantly have found that it has drastically changed my desire and ability to run. At 6'5" 250 I thought that running would just never be my preferred activity. Like the author, I have had a variety of injuries every few months despite attempts to run on trails with the right shoe/orthotic and limiting my runs to every other day. Since changing to a ball of foot striker, I am running 1-2 hours daily without pain and have mixed in running barefoot, with Vibram 5 fingers, and Newton shoes and really enjoying the trails without pain. I can't wait to move on to some longer distances and was truly inspired by the book.
As someone who has love running since junior high, I found this to be one of the best books I've ever read. I've had tons of running injuries and cannot stop thinking about how this book explains almost all of them. I've already started putting into practice the lessons learned and the results are phenomenal. And, on top of it all, it was as intriguing of a read as any novel I've read recently.
I am a runner, and I love history and non-fiction. So, I thought I would really enjoy this book. But I never warmed up to it and gave up before the second file. The story-telling was too over the top and I missed a likable character to anchor the story.
This is just a plain good book for anyone interested in endurance athletics - the long tail of running and cycling. I have read all the running books, and they all seem to be about the author. While the author of this book plays a role, the book is more about running and challenging yourself to limits you never thought were possible. I was disappointed when I finished the book, and it will probably become the first book I ever listen to twice.
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