Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

I bought this book on audible and listened to it on my iPhone using the Audible app while traveling from Atlanta to Portland.

I have been working on loosing weight and getting in better shape over the last year. So far I have lost around 30 pounds, I am very happy about that. As a part of getting in shape I have been doing some running, mostly the run/walk/run thing, but for now I only average a 15-minute mile, a bit slower in the summer heat. So this is where my interest in running has come from.

"Born to Run" popped up in an email about new books from Audible and the rating and reviews were so high that I couldn’t pass it up. A lot of the reviews stressed that the book would be enjoyed by anyone, even those who do not run, and boy were they right.

Many years ago I went through a lot of books about mountaineering, I enjoy hiking, but never really had any intention on doing anything close to real mountaineering, but I really enjoyed the books. John Krakauer’s "Into Thin Air", "Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills", and "The Burgess Book of Lies" are some of my favorites. I put "Born to Run" right up there with those books.

It is a great read. There is a lot of information for those who love to run, relationships and emotions for those looking for a good story, and controversy for those who like that sort of thing.

After reading this book I have decided to give barefoot or minimalist running a try. When I was in the Navy, many years ago, I spent a year running on a regular basis and injured my left foot. After that I was told to always wear stiff soled shoes and not to run so much. Lately I have been running in New Balance running shoes with high-end insoles and have not had any foot problems, but this book has me excited to give a try at strengthening my feet by wearing minimal footwear. I’ll let you know how that goes.

From the publisher:

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 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

I rate this book a 10 out of 10 and recommend to anyone who is interested in running or enjoys travel stories.

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