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 thoroughly enjoyed this book. I'm not sure how enjoyable this book would be to a non-runner, but as a marathoner, it was a great addition to my long runs. Filled with stories, anecdotes and interesting information, it is quite humbling!!!!A must read if you are a runner.
As a sedentary, middle-aged male, the idea of listening to a book on "running" was more than a little unusual. McDougall provided great story telling of 20 hour races and made them compelling, diet and physiology research and made them relevant for everyone, and insight into individuals and cultures that makes you want to immerse yourself into this amazing mindset. The book made me question Why I'm so averse to running and may push me further to work on a 3K before my next decade arrives. I'm also recommending the book to our HS track and CC coaches as it could have a huge impact on the kids' enjoyment of this naturally great life. I highly recommend this book.
Not only did I learn things about the human body and running that I did not know, but I was taken on a great adventure. Despite the fact that it's non-fiction and educational, the way McDougall tells this fantastic story is as entertaining as many fiction books. If you are a runner, this is a must read. If you are considering running, this is a must read.
MacDougall provides a wide range of information about ultra marathoning and the tribe of "running savants" in Mexico. The author tries a little too hard to make a good story of what is sometimes just good information, and does some "over-writing" in the process.
I highly, highly recommend this book for anyone who is a runner. It's not only one of the better books I've read over the last five years -- it will make you want to immediately run a marathon.
I read this book and really thought I could walk out my door and run for 12 hours straight. I loved it. I always wondered if shoes really made much of a difference. They actually make things worse. Your foot has evolved to take the shock of your foot hitting the ground and if you put on an expensive shoe with good "support" it transfers all of that shock up to your hips and knees. I went out and bought some barefoot running shoes almost immediately after reading the book. I have the Disney Half marathon coming up in September. This book really motivates you.
Unexpected point of view and good sense of humor. Some mistakes like fever in giardia - it is simply incorrect. Some chapters are slightly cheesy with quite good dollop of exageration. But in general it was true fun to read. I am glad that I have chosen this book.
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