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)
Most of the reviews of this audio book were very positive, but the few negative reviews made me hesitate to get it. I didn't want to spend 10+ hours listening to a load of 'barefoot' running propaganda or for-me-useless ultra-running advice. I run, but 10Ks not 160Ks and in shoes! In the end I decided to get it, but to listen to it like it was a fictional story, and well if anything struck me as true or useful then I'd accept that and just enjoy the rest as a story. And oh my, I am so, so, SO glad I did!
From the get go, I forgot all about trying to not take it as factual or not, I was so enthralled by the amazing story. First off, and to my surprise, the ultra-runners were just fascinating to me, the races, the personalities, the adventures. The first half of the book is mostly taken up with the story of ultra-runners and their races. The second half is a mix of the big race, plus a whole of of talk about the evolution of the human body and running. The evidence presented is fascinating, and the barefoot argument, although definitely a major point in this part of the book, is far from being the main point, which is that we are evolved to run long distances, and when nowadays we do it fulfills in us some deep innate need. For instance, did you know some animals can't breath while they're running, most can only take one breath per stride, and humans alone can take as many breaths as they want per stride? That's just one fact that you will learn from this book. And even the most sceptical listener will end up convinced that we are literally born to run.
Finally, and well in an audio book, an important aspect, is the reading. Again fantastic! Fred Sanders, has a sort of nice level of enthusiasm in his voice, fits the text perfectly without getting annoying. His timing, speed and intonation are perfect. I just could not stop listening and in spite of my initial hesitations this book has radically changed how I run and how I feel about running, and yes I'm an
I am not a runner, but married to a marathoner. Bought him the hardcopy book and got intrigued reading the 1st few pages. Bought the audio version for myself and found it fascinating. It covers such a wide variety of running subjects. Have several friends who have run the Leadville 100, so found that subject expecially interesting. A must for runners--and their faithful supporters!
I don't run but my wife told me to listen to it. It read like a riveting story full of colorful characters. I't actually got me motivated to start running, which is a feat in of itself. I would highly recommend it even if your not into running.
I've done various sports for most of my life, but the level of activity came close to a halt after I got three kids in a short time span starting a few years ago. I began to feel more and more out of shape. Running in itself never caught on. I've tried a few times, but it never stuck. The motivation for going for a run just wasn't there. After I listened to this book, I strapped on my running shoes and went for a short run on a rainy Friday in April in Oslo, Norway. This time I had the book and its many different aspects of running fresh in my mind. This gave me an intrinsic inspiration to take up running. Thanks Chris!
This is my first review for Audible after many years of listening, and I found this book one of the most surprising and enjoyable of my many downloads. I am NOT a runner, but the story is so fascinating and the characters so gripping, that I have listened to this book many times. It tells a real story about people, yet intertwines science, medicine, history, and humor. The 100 mile races are incredible to read about, but the story telling is what catches you. That's the key - this is true story telling.
Even if you're not a runner, you can probably appreciate good story telling - and this book delivers. Very good narration, thought provoking from both an athletic and a sociological point of view, with a compelling cast of characters - I've listened to it three times!
A fascinating story. And I learned a whole lot about running. I.e., I wasn't aware of the relationship between jogging and Nike.
Yep. The book has definitely gotten me interested in running.
Wow! I now own both the book and audio version, and have been through it a combined 3 times in about 6 months. This is a profoundly good book; books like this only come by once in a great while for me. The writing style is exceptional. The topics are well-woven together, and the plot (although non-fiction) is absolutely engaging. This book was life-changing for me. I think maybe it could be for most people. I disagree with one aspect of the author's thesis...he somewhat glorifies a vegetarian diet while later demonstrating that humans evolved because of their fantastic ability to run down prey (hint: prey = meat), and the underlying theme of the book is something along the lines that there is a runner in every one of us (and I'd take it a step further to say there is a meat-eater in every one of us :). That is nitpicking on my part, however. This is one book that I can whole-heartedly recommend and I don't think too many people will be annoyed with me after reading it.
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