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)
I listened to this audiobook with my two children (16 years old and 12 years old) as we drove around to their soccer practices, games, tournaments, etc. We spend a lot of time in the car, and audiobooks are a great way for us to "read" books together like we did when they were younger. There were a few scenes and references that weren't completely appropriate for children, but overall it was a great family book and I would recommend it for teens and older.
My criticism: sometimes the writing was overly romanticized and hyperbolic, especially about the Tarahumara people. My mom is from Chihuahua (we have been to many of the places where the race took place!), and we have Tarahumara (Raramuri) blood. I think readers need to be able to overlook/understand the perspective in which this was written in order to "buy in" to the narrative. I find myself recommending the book, but with the caveat that though there are insights into the Raramuri, and they are significant in the book, it is all from an outsider's perspective. Wouldn't it be amazing to read their perspectives and hear their stories? But, that would be another book...
That said, the narrative and information are really engaging, interesting, and motivational! My kids wanted to continue listening in order to follow the narrative of the great race, but by listening to all of it, they are now hooked on running! Needless to say, they are among the throngs of readers/listeners of this book who have been inspired to run. Plus, we all learned a lot and they definitely feel like they are part of a running culture now. There's no downside to that!
My title says it all...I almost stopped listening several times because of the offensive language.
...but I still enjoyed this book. Surprisingly he goes deep into a lot of the physiology around our feet, running, etc. McDougal is largely searching for answers as to why so many seemingly healthy modern runners suffer so many feet and leg related injuries. He ultimately answers his own question by piecing together other people’s research and years of observations; some of which goes back to the dawn of mankind.
Ive listened to this book several times and I find Fred Sanders narration to be excellent.
This book brings out all that is good about running, camaraderie, compassion, commitment and weaves in a great story as well. It even inspired me to add some miles to weekly running schedule, so its all good.
Listen and Enjoy !
I've lost track of how many times I've listened to this book. I use it to motivate me to get off the couch, I fall asleep to it at night. It helps me eat healthier, but I still haven't found any Pinole where I live. Maybe some day it will even help me to run a marathon....or beat a horse in a hundred mile race...well alright it might not be that good. I don't think it's normal to listen to it as many times as I have but it's a crazy good read.
Very, very informative and entertaining listen. I play squash and have always purchased cheap running shoes. Not sure I do this for the right reasons, but glad that I do.
I have never written a review before, but I had to for this book- and I still have just 14 minutes left of it. It is an incredibly well written story that is able to include fascinating accounts of history, anthropology, science, humor, nutrition, philosophy... all woven throughout the excitingly suspenseful plot of the race. This is easily one of my favorite books of all time- it changes the way you look at many things in life. And he does a good job of making you laugh out loud- even while you're running!
It is an interesting insite into the unltramarathon runner's world. The story kept my attention the entire time and I learned new information about the "Hidden Tribe". I wonder if the man who showed up a Mt. Whitney in shorts and sandals and ran to the top and back in a very short time was one of these Indian runners. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone, runner or not, for it is informative, a good story and I came away knowing more than I did before listening to it.
I had read this book before and wanted to listen to it as I went on long runs. Fred Sanders did a wonderful job narrating the book. He pronounced the Spanish words perfectly (I am a Spanish teacher, so that was pleasing)! He had an excellent voice to listen to. And, of course, Christopher McDougall is a wonderful author and this is one of my favorite books. A MUST-READ! Too valuable of information not to learn. I highly recommend this audiobook! You will not regret it, especially if you are a runner or are considering becoming one.
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