Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?
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 ultra runners 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 Christopher McDougall (P)2012 Audible Ltd
"Hugely entertaining.... One of the most joyful and engaging books about running to appear for many years." (Times)
"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)
A terrific ride, recommended for any athlete." (Kirkus)
"Born to Run"
The most inspirational book I have read or listened to in a long time. Makes you want to stop everything and go for a run.
"Great story, well written and read"
There's a lot going on here. It's a book about running that weaves a thrilling story of an adventure race in the Copper Canyons in Mexico, the culture, attitude and history of long distance running, the science behind endurance running, the mystery of a hidden culture of Mexican Indian runners and their unlikely US Ambassador and - most importantly - the author's journey into, and successfully out the other side of the world of adventure racing.
McDougal's skill is to make the characters larger than life, make his own story relevant and interesting and keep the narrative from getting to bogged down in history, science, statistics or geography.
It's an adventure story, a travelog, an inspirational tale, an informative journal and a very funny and memorable story. The narration is first class as well, keeping the wit dry and the pace just enough to keep your breath.
a great book for anyone interested in running or training for any run from a 10km to a marathon and beyond (and you will learn all about how far beyond people go!)
What can I add, other reviewers knew of or knew the runners here. Comparatively I just read this book. It was interesting, engaging, educational, I really hope this guy did his homework and has really delivered us the truth and I have no reason to doubt this. Its a easy listen but educational, what more can a reader want!
"A beautiful book, beautifully read"
With the sad loss of Caballo Blanco earlier this year "Born to Run" now takes on an added poignancy.
For a book about a bunch of misfits running in the wilderness it is remarkably gripping and is so well written that I felt I knew all the characters. So much so that when I met, and ran with, Barefoot Ted I spoke to him as if he was an old friend I hadn't seen for years.
I will also add that it is worth buying just for the pronunciations.
"Makes you want to run"
I just loved this book as after many years of feeling crippled with my ankle I dared to go running again. The narrator has captive and interesting style with a clear voice keeping the tension going throughout the book even when it gets a bit scientific!
"Outstanding & Life-Changing."
I'm trying not to gush about this book, but here we go: brace yourselves! There are more "A-Ha!" moments in this book than I could keep count of whilst driving and pottering about. I resented having to sleep whilst I was listening to this book - it made so much sense, joined so many dots - I was afraid that an interrupted read might mean risking missing a point. Christopher MacDougall deserves a big "thank you" this book - it has changed my running life, overturned a good deal of marketing bunk, and allowed me to shrug off years-old running injuries. Incidentally, the author also does a great talk on Ted.com with the same title - but do get the book, it has WAY more depth and insights than the talk can cram in. A Must for all athletes, recommended for all humans.
"I've left my couch for something better"
I used to run a lot. Whether it was for fitness or just for fun, it was always part of my life. As I've got busier with work and kids and a professional dedication to procrastination, running has taken a bit of a back seat in my life.
Listening to this book though, takes you straight into the hearts and mind of those people who still have an almost child like fascination with running, and you can't help yourself from lacing up the running shoes and heading out on the road to recapture that feeling for yourself.
I haven't experimented with the barefoot running ideas expounded in the book, but a lightweight set of minimal shoes are on my radar, and I'll be trying it soon.
"Really enjoyable and inspiring listen"
I found the book to be easy to listen to and found myself finishing it relatively quickly over a few drives on my way to work.
I do enjoy running but have never attempted a marathon and never even contemplated anything further! The author brings out the fun in running, exploring the motivations that drive people from various walks of life to regularly run distances that few of us "mortals" have ever attempted on foot.
The book inspired me to relax my running style a little and to try some lighter trainers (not quite "barefoot" but a lot less clunky than the normal structures running trainers I've gotten used to).
"A great exploration"
I read this book because I wanted to improve my own running, I am fascinated by outlying tribes hidden from the world, and I love reading about seemingly super-human abilities.
Born To Run tells the history of the Tarahumara tribe of super runners in northern Mexico. They are a secretive people who routinely run marathons back to back, before getting wildly drunk, before waking up and doing it all over again. They run because they love it, and I have a feeling that an average Tarahumara man or woman could probably run further and faster than 30 average non-Tarahumara men or women running in relay.
There was nothing in the book about Tarahumara genetic insights, so I am next off to Google to see if anyone has figured out the Tarahumara superhero secrets. There was some mention throughout the book of the Tarahumara diet, and I just purchased some Chia seeds online. I'm very interested in seeing them turn water into gel. How odd.
Born to Run told a captivating story and was very entertaining, and is well worth reading. This book made me want to run more, burn my running shoes, and live in the woods.
"If you don't think you were born to run, you're not only denying history; you're denying who you are."
I also learned that the average human has a longer stride than a horse. The human is a more efficient running machine than a horse, so if both were engines filled with the same amount of fuel, the human would go further. We out-horse the horse!
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