Rare is the book that gets its readers to take action. What is it about Christopher Mcdougall’snonfiction book Born to Run that made me want to go for a jog after not running since my stint as a middle school sprinter? The book starts with the author’s doctor visit prompted by the common runner’s question, “Why does my foot hurt?”
In his search to uncover why our bodies are so suited to distance running, Mcdougall journeys to the Cooper Canyons of Mexico where he encounters the Tarahumara Indians. They (men, women, and children) are known for running barefoot and injury-free for extremely long distances. Their unlikely athletic success provides a jumping off point for the author to question all that modern medicine and our western mindset would have us believe makes sense when it comes to running ability.
The author captures the eccentric personalities of many ultra-runners as he weaves in a wealth of researched information including why a human can outrun a horse or what is appealing about races like the Leadville Trail 100 Run. The book ends with a 100-mile race that takes place on the Tarahumara’s turf. Along the way, the reader senses that ultra-racing has more in common with the human spirit than the competitive spirit.
The mysterious figure of Caballo Blanco runs throughout the story as a representation of running’s real rewards. While most of us are not daring enough to drop-out of society and go where our bliss leads us, there is something to be said about uncovering the truths behind why running shoes do more harm to your feet than good, as well as why an ultra-runner in their 60’s can still compete with runners 40 years younger, and why its one of the few sports where women compete equally with men.
I jog because I can. Does a person really need more reason?
You can connect with Chris Mcdougall on his website.
What books have you ever read that truly motivated you to take action?
For more insight, read my Book Review Criteria. Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2012.
It’s interesting that a book can have that kind of effect on you.
I can’t see doing a 100 mile run. Even when I was in the Marines I had no love for running.
Don’t think I’ll be doing 100 mile run either 😉 But the book did get me to want to make a habit out of jogging a few miles a few times a week.
I think I need to read this book. Hopefully it will have the same effect on me.
Very interesting. I’m not one who reads non-fiction. Hearing about a tribe and how they can endure miles of barefoot running sounds interesting. I never got into running, but this book sounds like it has more substance than just running. Thanks for sharing.
Denise, Born to Run really focuses on how modern running shoes do more harm than good. Since reading the book last year, I’ve switched to toe socks and Merrell Barefoot shoes. They really made me sore at first, but now I wouldn’t trade them for the world since I’ve re-trained my body to run the right way so I can minimize injury.
I use to run. I haven’t run since I had a very bad skiing accident that caused a back injury. The good news is I now walk very fast and that works for me and doesn’t hurt my back. This book sounds really interesting because of the subject. Gosh, when will I have time to read all that I want to right now… Sigh!
I often tell myself I am going to walk more, simply because I like to take the time to notice things to take pictures of. When I’m jogging, I don’t take in the sights and sounds in the same way.
Nice book review.Now I want to get hold of this book. I don’t run. But, i walk long distances in summer.
I was confused! I thought this guy had died so I looked it up and realized I was indeed confused. It was the main character of the story who actually died. Since I read about that man’s story, I’ve been meaning to get this book, but then forgot. Now you reminded me, and I certainly need to get this. This would be a good book to review on my site too!!
Bethany, it would definitely be a perfect book to review on your blog, plus it would be interesting to get your trained runner’s perspective on the book.
I’ve heard about this guy before and it sounds like a great book. I’ll have to put it on my list, but I defintely won’t be adding ultra-marathons to my list 🙂
One of my former classmates does ultra-runs, but it seems to take a rare breed to commit to such feats.
Has to be good if it spurred you into action Jeri. Sometimes the right book comes just at the right moment too. Hope you’re enjoying your new routine 🙂
I’ve fallen off the routine every now and again, but haven’t quit in over a year! Now that running is a habit, I don’t feel right on the days I don’t go.
OK, I am blown away. I am puchasing this book for my blog partner. The running style impressed me and I am inspired to write a post about the corn beer. This was a great review.
I stand 100% behind this book and its impact on my life, plus the writing’s pretty good to boot. You definitely won’t be disappointed.
Interesting book – I had a friend from Somalia who ran the Boston Marathon without practicing and came in the top 100. He said, “Back home, we run everywhere.” Not me! I take my time and walk.
Walking, jogging, swimming… it’s just good to keep moving! One of the best things about my new home is being right on a green belt.
It’s great that you got back into something you used to enjoy. I have never been athletically inclined, which is why it’s so hard to keep working out, but I have gotten back into yoga, aerobics, walking and weight lifting for my health.
I’ll leave the running to you. I like to reserve that kind of energy in case someone mean decides to chase me!