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)
First, let me say that I hate running. HATE IT.
But after listening to this wonderfully written and masterfully read story I have actually begun the first steps of barefoot running. After listening to Christopher McDougall's adventures/misadventures in the Copper Canyons of Mexico with Caballo Blanco I have both a new-found respect and interest in running. The book itself perfectly entwines great story telling, historic & scientific discoveries, and profound human truths all associated with the "art" of running. I've rarely been so satisfied by any book - I couldn't stop listening and I miss the characters so much I'm listening again. Awesome awesome awesome.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
And I'll never be one. But, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. Loved hearing the history. And chia seeds have become a routine part of my diet. Educational without being stuffy.
What a great story. Not only great story, our author is major character and protagonist of and within the story. And herein lies the two major themes that make this one of the best books I have ever read.
1) Detailed and inside coverage of the Ultra Running Culture. Mexican (Tarahumara) legendary runners, strange (different/better) Americans. With a story how the two groups got together in the hidden mountains of Mexico for an EPIC race.
2) Detailed debunking of popular myths regarding running (especially useless and debilitating running shoes). As well as technical and deep mental insights of people who run and are addicted to running Ultra races.
Perhaps (I mean why not) I could run a 50 mile ultra. I mean with the help of this book I am now running 20 miles along side the Colorado River (Glenwood Canyon). When I used to groan and moan to run 6.
Finally and again the best story, documentary, training manual, inspiration extended quatrain ever anywhere.
it's an amazing book to listen to, first time listener and I hear it on the daily show so I thought I would look it up, too bad you can't get chia seeds to plan here in Japan, besides that is amazing book I can't wait to travel to Mexico and pick so me up ( don't tell anyone) I love the whole book so much I actually started running and signed up for the Tokyo Marathon next year, wish me luck!
My favorite part of this audiobook is what one reviewer called the "wonky" part. I loved McDougall's argument for and explanation of how modern humans evolved from running humans. This is an excellent listen. I highly recommend it for any runner. I have downloaded something like 70 audiobooks and this is the first one for which I have written a review. This book may be attacked by shoe companies, but more likely, it might lead to companies offering more minimalist running shoes.
If, like me, you're not really a runner - don't let that fact steer you away from Christopher McDougall's new book. With an enthralling cast of true characters and a writing style that is laugh out loud funny... "Born to Run" would be a great summer road trip listen. At least that was my plan for next week's vacation, but once I started listening, I couldn't stop (the narration was excellent). The story: well, I even was inspired to take my creaky, over 50 knees outside for a run to hear the last couple of hours... and that's sayin' somethin'. I hope the author saved a few stories; I'd love a sequel.
You see all the 5-star ratings because it's a great book. Just get it, and you will be happy. So many angles on so many things, I probably need to read it again. Some parts may be a little lengthy about some of the races for some people, but even as a non-runner, I found these parts rather enjoyable. The depth that the book goes into about evolution, shoes, feet, and endurance are what grabbed me. It made me think about what shoes I wear, and almost made me want to run (although I still don't). And it introduced me to a 'new' sport that makes me wonder- Ultras? And then I found out that a friend of mine runs these 100 mile + races, and I felt I could relate in some way to what he does because I read this book.
Great book. My favourite type in that it tells a great story and gives lots of information. It makes you really question how helpful high priced running shoes and orthodics really are.
Reading the book inspires you to go outside and run barefoot on dew-covered grass.
I have no idea what possessed me to buy this book but I am grateful to whatever force guided that click. I cannot remember the last time I finished a book and wanted to start over. This is not just a fabulous read but a fabulous experience. Fred Sander's voice is magnificent, Christopher McDougell is a beautiful story-teller. Born to Run is an amazing (true) story- intertwined with a little history, a bit about nutrition, curious facts about physiology and peppered with generous doses of motivation, spirituality, great characters and the beauty of unexpected friendships. Taken all together-it made me want to run (& trust me, I am so not a runner). Worth every second of the journey.
This was a great listen and I found it hard to turn off at the end of my commute to and from work. If you're already a runner, besides entertaining you and motivating your running, this book will tempt you to try at least two things. Try chia fresca and try running barefoot or in some other supportless "shoe." I'd caution runners not to overdo it the first time they run without shoes; no more than a couple/few miles at a time until you build up foot strength. I ran six miles in a pair of the Vibram Five Fingers the author mentions, and while it felt great at the time, my feet and ankles were terribly sore for a week or so after.
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