Book Review: Born to Run by: Christopher McDougall

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Publisher: Knopf
Publish Date: 5 May 2009
Origins: Purchased
Format: Hardcover

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 fifty-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.

I picked up this book because I recently bought the Vibrams Five Fingers that are mentioned in it. I heard there was a book featuring these shoes that I have totally fallen in love with and I had to buy the book. I am one of these people. I have had SIX (6) operations on my feet culminating in the last two which were total cutting of my plantar fascia tendon to let it heal back together. I used to love running once upon a time and now I can barely walk a mile without debilitating pain. BUT.....these shoes changed that for me and so I HAD to get the book that talked about them.

I found the story itself hard to get into. The author does this weird sort of bouncing around, he will go into a tale and then flashback to a different tale while in the middle of the one and it got very confusing for me at times. That being said, the message of the book is a keeper. I love the concept of bare foot running and was doing it when my feet first started having problems, way before I found these magic shoes. I know this isn't my usual sort of book but I had to mention it here, because it helped open something, validate something, in me that I needed. If you have pain when you run, not just the 'I'm fat or out of shape pain' but the 'OMG why does that hurt pain' you might want to look into this book!

Copyright The Bibliophilic Book Blog 2009-2010
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1 comment:

  1. I started reading this book. I was considering talking about the Tarahumaras in one of my WIPs, but I decided I didn't have the time to research it and I returned my copy to the library, taking a different approach for the WIP.
    Glad you're enjoying the shoes. Have fun running!


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