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Summary

Two million years ago, Africa: A skinny, long-limbed creature who walks on two legs, can’t sprint, and has no weapons turns away from his under-nourished friends, and runs down a much stronger antelope. Dinner. Over succeeding generations, this creature evolves into one of the best distance runners on the planet: the human being. Yet in the age of modernity, we find ourselves unable to run without more than half of us suffering injury. This book looks at the injury epidemic in running and what the barefoot running movement believes are the causes of injury. It analyzes the best-seller Born to Run, how human evolution has shaped our bodies, how modernity has warped those same bodies, and what barefoot running both got right and wrong. It concludes by giving practical advice to runners from the writer, a 2012 Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon.

©2013 Chas Gillespie (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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Profile Image for Hugh Bouchelle
  • Hugh Bouchelle
  • 14-09-14

Save time, read Born to Run again and skip this

What would have made Born to Run Barefoot? better?

The main problem with this book is that he misrepresents McDougall's advice in Born to Run. He Keep saying that McDougall is suggesting that we go out take off our shoes and start running barefoot. That simply is not true. In fact, McDougall was very clear that while he believes that the running method of the Tarahumara Indians is a more natural way to run, and much more likely to be injury free, to switch over to this style of running without a very deliberate, careful, and probably time-consuming effort would be foolish.

What could Chas Gillespie have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Gillespie did not present a good case against barefoot running. His science was almost nonexistent (except for anecdotal cases) and in those cases the problem was not the style of running but it was how the athletes who decided to adopt the style moved in to it too quickly. I felt the book was disconnected in that for a while it was about Born to Run, then it switched over to the sociology of running (to find fault again with McDougall's over romanticizing of the Tarahumara culture) and then spent a little bit of time explaining Gillespie's proposed methods of injury free running. Which, by the way, I would bet McDougall would agree with almost 100% since they were basically just everyday common sense ideas.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The writing style is good it - keeps your interest. The narration is excellent. Too bad the content could not keep up.

Any additional comments?

If you are considering reading this book here's my advice, if you've not yet read Born to Run, read it and skip this book. If you've already read Born to Run, read it again and skip this book - you will get nothing new.

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  • M. Phillips
  • 05-01-18

More of a critical opinion on "Born to Run"

The author seems to be out to get Chris McDougall for "Born to Run". Essentially this is a critical review of minimalist/barefoot running idea presented in "Born to Run", not a comprehensive review of barefoot running in general. It was interesting perspective at times, however the author took it upon himself to say that McDougall encouraged barefoot running, when in fact only one person in "Born to Run" was running barefoot and was often told to put shoes on. Barefoot running was only presented as a thing that "Barefoot Ted" did and some runners do and why they do it. McDougall himself ran in normal running shoes, and so did majority of the runners so this entire thing focusing on McDougall endorsing barefoot running was just unnecessary.

Last critique is that at the end the author gives very conventional advise to running "Take it easy, stretch, buy good shoes, have a coach". So, it seems the conclusion is - don't run barefoot, do what everyone else does.

I still recommend reading it, as I definitely took away several good points the author mentions in the middle of the book, like barefoot running may be natural but if you haven't done it your entire life, your body will suffer if you jump into it head first. The key is taking it easy and training and stretching your feet, legs, muscles to run barefoot very gradually, which should have been the conclusion here.

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  • Mila
  • 20-07-15

Short, but to the point.

I liked the author's approach of the subject. Very useful tips at the end of the book.

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  • skexsis
  • 31-05-21

Very Informative

The essay of what to and not to do for barefoot running was very interesting. There is a lot of debunking the information from Born to Run gives in regards to running. This isn't a why barefoot running is good or bad but more about things to know when running in general. Barefoot runners can learn from this essay just as much as non-barefoot runners. I highly recommend listening or reading this essay right after Born to Run.

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  • Joceline Telfer
  • 05-03-21

Misleading

So this is less of an overview on the pros and cons of barefoot running and more of a rhetorical analysis of the best seller “Born to Run”. Which is not what I wanted when I got into this. I don’t care for most of his points, I think they are petty, but I wouldn’t have cared if he had just been straightforward about the point of his writing.

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  • MsMusic
  • 18-02-21

Skip This

This seems like a snarky attempt to discredit the book Born to Run. The author seems like he has some kind of personal issue against Chris McDougal and this seems to distort what could have been a useful discussion.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-12-20

Interesting

Always interesting to hear someones opinion. Could not get past the mispronunciation of Joe Vigil's last name. I have the same last name. It is sad to see that it was allowed to be pronounced on such a large platform.

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  • Stacey Bernal
  • 30-11-20

A Good Perspective of Barefoot Running.

The book takes a look at both sides of the argument of barefoot running.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-11-20

Great Easy Listening

Gillespie takes what could otherwise be a fairly boring topic and brings a concise fresh take which makes for a great read.
This is not the antithesis of Born to Run, rather a question Gillespie is trying to answer and I believe he does, in a satisfying way for the reader. In a time of all style no substance headlines, this is not a hot takes which solve all your problems in 200 pages or less.
I hope to see more writing from this talented author in the near future.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-11-20

Fan of Born to run?

Then you should listen to this excellent breakdown of one of the most influential running themed books - Born To Run by Christopher McDougall.