Book Lovers Blog

May 21, 2009

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Filed under: Sports — Nora Quiason @ 11:59 pm

“Distance Runner”

Whether you are a regular marathon runner or a sometimes jogger, after you read this book, you will want to put on your running shoes and run in the park or on city streets and discover the joy of running.

A well conditioned athlete who has participated in and written about extreme sports for Men’s Health, journalist Christopher McDougall was side lined by painful feet. In search of an answer, he came upon a story of the Tarahumara, an ancient tribe of ultra runners, living in the Copper Canyon of Chihuahua, Mexico. He searched persistently and in the process gained not only a painless way of running but a new insight into the joy of running.

The Tarahumara people are known for their distance running ability. They have been known to outrun deer, cheetah and other fast animals and hunt game by simply tiring the animal to where it could simply run no more. They can run for days without stopping. A reclusive tribe, the Tarahumara people are visible only when they want to be. Living in the depths of Copper Canyon, they not only live away from civilization but also maintain homes that blend into the landscape, camouflaged from even the most experienced tracker. McDougall’s accounts of the lives of these gentle people are as appealing as the wonders of their running ability. The Tarahumara live with great joy and serenity in a cashless society where sharing and giving back is the way of life. They enjoy good health and long life. They do not prepare to run, they just do. They run because it gives them joy.

Traveling the perilous Copper Canyon and finally meeting the tribe, McDougall excites not only with his insights about running but also with his descriptions of the way of the tribe. He writes that humans are born to run as is seen in children who seem to be always running. In our evolution, we had to be lean and quick to run away from predators or to run for the hunt. The Tarahumara eat vegetables,fruits and occasional game keeping themselves lean. And the answer to McDougall’s hurting foot was that his shoes were actually causing the injury. Ancient man did not wear shoes. McDougall learned to run barefoot painlessly.

McDougall introduces us to Caballo Blanco whose real name could be Micah True. An enigmatic man, Caballo Blanco has his feet in two cultures, the ancient tribe and the western world. He lives in Copper Canyon and sometimes in the city. He sometimes facilitates a distance running race with the Tarahumara and select ultra runners. The big reward and thrill for the author was running a race with the Tarahumara and a handful of select ultra marathoners in a race the outside world did not witness.

Get the book from your local bookstore or from online stores like Amazon or Alibris. It is not only a good read. It will blow you away.

Born to Run:A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall, Hardcover, 304 pages ISBN: 978-0-307-26630-9 (0-307-26630-3) May 5,2009, Random House

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