Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Book Review: Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, & The Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

I just finished up reading the new book by Christopher McDougall called Born to Run. This book has several different facets to it, but the main thread throughout it is about the Tarahumara Indians of the Copper Canyons in Mexico. They are famously known for being great long distance runners on nothing more than a homemade sandal for support and chia seeds and pinole for food. The book covers Chris's quest to find out if he is made for long distance running and how the Tarahumara manage to run so long even when they are older.
The book goes behind the scenes of the some country's best Ultrarunners and delves into the closed culture of the Tarahumara. It was great to read about what some of the runners are really like as the magazine articles tend to build them up as superheroes and in reality they are normal people like everyone else. I really appreciated the amount of depth he went into to talk about how we are built for running and the effects shoes have had on our running injuries. I am a big minimalist when it comes to running shoes.

The book covers a lot of history going back to when the Tarahumara ran the Leadville 100 and follows this mysterious character who turned his back on society and followed the Tarahumara into the wilds of the Copper Canyons. This white ghost travels the secluded trails of the Mexican wild in search of his purpose in life and seeks out the ways of the Tarahumara. After he gains the trust of them, he comes up with an idea of having an ultra race on their turf with some of the USA's best runners. The race does come to fruition and even brought in the great Scott Jurek. For how the race went down and the details of the planning, you will have to read the book.

Overall this was a great book and I give it 3***. This is one of those books that I did not want to put down and I did not want it to end. If you are into running, ultrarunning, or just curious about why people challenge themselves to extremes, this book is for you. You will be glad you read it.

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