I have wanted to read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall since I heard about it when it initially came out. A little over a year later, I’ve finally purchased the book and have finished it in no time. Filled with astonishing facts, noteworthy tips, interesting secrets, and intriguing characters, Born to Run was undoubtedly a quick and worthy read.
After suffering countless running injuries (and he certainly isn’t alone, with 8 out of every 10 runners becoming hurt every year), McDougall ventured deep into the Copper Canyons of Mexico to learn the secrets of some of the best runners around, the Tarahumara Indians. The superhuman tribe, immune to not just most modern day diseases, but also said to be free of crime, war, and theft, can run hundreds of miles at a time along steep canyon trails with nothing but some flimsy sandals strapped to their feet. With distance running of 50 or more miles constituting as one of their favorite leisurely activities, each of the Tarahumara Indians track quite a bit of mileage on their own two legs, all without nearly ever suffering from a single injury.
McDougall’s journey through some of North America’s “most savage terrain” would lead him to not only the answers he was seeking of how to avoid runner’s injury, but also to the explanation that we as humans were literally born to run.
At the dawn of his travels, McDougall encounters Caballo Blanco, a non-Tarahumara, “mysterious loner” living among the tribe. Blanco initially guides McDougall to the cliffs high in the mountains where the Tarahumara secretly reside, where he then tries to absorb and obtain as much information he can gather from the taciturn, seemingly elusive tribe.
Blanco and McDougall keep in contact even after McDougall’s return to the states, where Blanco eventually informs him of a 50-mile race he has brewing in his mind, intending to combine both the superhuman Tarahumara runners and some of America’s best ultramarathoners. With some effort and presumably a bit of luck, Blanco gathers a substantial unique and lively crew, including some of Tarahumara’s best runners, Scott Jurek, America’s top ultramarathon runner, a babbling barefoot runner named Ted, and a youthful couple from Virginia Beach, all willing to run the race of Blanco’s dreams. And don’t forget McDougall who uses his new knowledge of running to train for his very own first endurance race, injury free.
As the story unfolds from start to end, McDougall uses his witty and highly entertaining voice to cram in interesting facts, statistics, and scientific stories, as he takes you on your own picturesque journey through the land of the Tarahumara Indians and inside the eclectic personalities of all those who travel there to run. By the end of the book, you’re bound to want to lace up your sneakers (or buy a new, less cushioned pair first), and hit the ground running…proving to your body that you’re born to soar through the outdoors like never before.