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 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.
The last thing you want to do with an awe-inspiring story of incredible endurance is to drown it in a sea of exaggeration. Mr. McDougall uses so much cliche and hyperbole that by the time the actual facts unfold you are too weary to fully appreciate them and they no longer stand in contrast to anything else that was written. Combine this with unnecessary salacious details and gratuitous obscenity and it becomes obvious that Mr. McDougall is mentally stuck writing for the eighteen year old consumer of Men's Health magazine and not the larger public audience that this book could have reached.
I listened to this book while running instead of music. It was great! It inspired me to run more thoughtfully. Not only did I enjoy the story, I learned a lot about improving my own running. Great book. I've been recommending it to all my friends, runners or not.
I absolutely loved this book. I've been dabbling in 10km and half-marathon runs, but this book has opened my eyes - and brain to a whole new attitude towards running. The chapter on barefoot running is fantastic.
I loved this book. I listened to it twice, just to catch all of the details, then researched some of the information myself. The author does a great job of marrying his research information with characters and a plot. There is enough education, and history to keep your mind churning, but there is also humor, friendship, love and loss, peppered throughout. I highly recommend this to anyone who once was, is, or has a desire to ever be a runner.
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