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)
Runner, Commuter, Dietitian with a passion for U.S. History.
I was about to give up on running when I happened upon a this well written and capably narrated audiobook. A former marathoner, I'd spent the last year recovering from a painful and persistent series of foot injuries uncannily similar to the author's. Listening to the eccentrencities of American trail runners and the inspiring story of remote Mexican tribal runners sure got my running mojo back, but I remain unconvinced of the benefits of barefoot running and minimalist shoes. Sorry, but even my slow, footsore 50 year old body has beat much younger runners in Vibrams. The premise that all of us are evolutionarily wired and "born to run" from our history as endurance hunters is fascinating. However, while peer reviewed research supporting cushioned running shoes is lacking, so too is any organized research effort supporting barefoot and minimalist shoe running. Hopefully, the Vibram and barefoot fad will be replaced by solid research in biomechanics to design shoes and therapies that are truly effective for injury prevention and not just a full page ad of made-up technohype in "Runner's World." It's not just the runners of the world who need this but also the multitudes of us who are on our feet much of the day who eventually sustain a foot injury. At any rate, I'm out running again and having a heck of a good time imagining chasing a mastadon with the rest of my prehistoric tribe. For that, and my return to running, I am grateful to Mr. McDougall.
This book was incredible! Fred Sanders does a great job with the narration and Christopher McDougall did a great job with the book. I often listen to books while working out. I changed my gate on the treadmill and I ended up running for double the time without even noticing it! I listened to the book in 3 days and now I'm listening to it again.
Was a good story, cheesy though the dialogue, and I found myself ready for it to end. Overall I enjoyed it, but wouldn't listen to again. The voice over guy got pretty tiresome, although that may have just been the content he had to work with.
Fascinating book for runners and non-runners alike. For the former-- seriously inspirational and motivational. For all--full of gripping characters, a great story-line, interesting scientific/evolutionary explanations for humans and their need to run. All around, multi-faceted, excellent story-telling. You won't be able to stop listening.
I am not even a runner and thoroughly enjoyed this book. The research that this author did with the tribe from Mexico was exemplary. Fascinating information on how the running shoe industry has pulled the wool over consumers worldwide by promoting running shoes that actually cause more injuries than they prevent. Get this book, you'll love it.
Say something about yourself!
thats all i can say really.. trippy.. i did some research myself after this book.. it was good.
I had heard some good things about this book. I was disappointed with the sophomoric writing style. The awkward subtitle is the first clue to the bad writing. Everything has to be larger-than-life. As the book was being read, it sounded like every sentence ended with an exclamation point. I was hoping for a thoughtful science-based analysis of the merits of barefoot running. Instead, 2/3 of the book is spent describing, in hyperbolic fashion, the crazy personalities involved in the field. When the book finally gets to more hard science, the author pushes theories as if they were established fact (such as the basis for accelerated cerebral growth in modern humans).
The reading was mediocre, but obviously limited by the source material.
I don't know how much of this story actually took place but I don't care. I feel like I learned something and I'm totally inspired. One of my favorite audio books!
McDougall's book is part whodunnit, part national geographic expedition, part "Rocky" ...and a completely enjoyable read (and listen). The narration is solid and McDougall's prose is immediately engaging. I have recommended this book to many folks and all have loved it.
How often can you say that a book changed your life? For me, only one has -- this one. While I had started down the path of barefoot running before I read this book, this book has firmly set my course. Christoper McDougall has created a wonderful story from true events so riveting you'd swear this was fiction. By the middle of the book, I was already anxious to listen again, and so I did. I can only wish for a movie or documentary to reinforce the great information and drama this book provides.
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