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Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen summary Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, series Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, pdf Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen f3ffcf5589 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 WrongIsolated 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 Fifty 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 WonderWith 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 Front Flap

10 thoughts on “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

  1. says:

    Let me begin this review by saying that I am not, and never have been, a runner Despite that fact, I was surprisingly fascinated by Chrisopher McDougall s account of how his desire to run without pain started him on a quest that led him both deep into Mexico s remote Copper Canyons and human evolutionary past.Born to Run begins as an adventure story While trying to figure out how to get his own foot to stop hurting, he saw an article about a tribe of Mexican Indians called the Tarahumara These people were said to be able to run for days at a time through unforgiving terrain wearing nothing on their feet than sandals made from thin strips of tire rubber So McDougall set out to find these mysterious people, but doing so was not easy The Copper Canyons where they live are extremely difficult to get to, and the trip is made even hazardous by having to pass through drug farming country on the way In addition to being a sometimes nail biting tale about the author s quest to find the Tarahumara, Born to Run also weaves in the fascinating history of the sport of ultra running Ultra marathons are races consisting of any distance longer than a marathon McDougall discusses how this crazy sport first came into being, highlighting along the way the stories of the participants who have slowly begun to make it famous.McDougall narrates this history in real time, resulting in descriptions of several races that were so gripping I couldn t put the book down One of these races was the Leadville Trail 100, a 100 mile race at 11,000 feet in which the Tarahumara faced off against an ultra running prodigy named Ann Trason.As McDougall weaves together the story of ultra running s past with his own quest to find the Tarahumara and become a better runner, he also relays a fascinating tale about scientific discoveries into our evolutionary past suggesting that it was our ability to run long distances without getting winded, and thus get all that extra protein from the bounding antelope we were able to outlast, that gave us the evolutionary edge needed to grow our huge brains These sections also point out that we did not evolve to run on cushions with arch support, and that expensive running shoes may actually make runners prone to injury than running in the bare feet nature so elegantly designed for us.The book concludes with the tale of a joint venture between McDougall and a character named Caballo Blanco, a gringo who had befriended the Tarahumara and made the Copper Canyons his home Though the Tarahumara had wowed people at Leadville, Caballo longed to see them race against America s ultra running best on their own turf So McDougall helped him get together a half dozen racers and they made the dangerous trek down into the canyons The resulting race and the sportsmanship described therein is very moving, and I finished this odd combination of memoir, sports history, adventure tale and evolutionary science with damp eyes AddendumNot quite a year after reading this book, I ve been contemplating that question GR asks in the review process How did this book change your life because, quite unexpectedly, this book has arguably changed my life than any I ve ever read.It started because my geekish husband, a runner, decided he needed to figure out how to make huaraches, the thin, rubber and lace sandals worn for long races by the Tarahumara He made some for himself, and for me, and a few other people in the Boulder Barefoot Club, and then a lot people in the Boulder Barefoot Club, until finally, the BB Club s founder Michael Sandler, said, Why don t you just put up a web site Steven hemmed and hawed, but Michael, who was about to publish his own comprehensive book on barefoot running called, appropriately enough, Barefoot Running How to Run Light and Free by Getting in Touch with the Earth, said if we had a website, he d put it in his book And of course, who doesn t want to be in a book So not quite a year later, we have, via the magic of the Interwebs, found ourselves selling huaraches and DIY huarache kits at to people in all 50 states and countries on six out of seven continents we d like to go for seven out of seven, but I m not holding out much hope for barefoot style running taking off in Antarctica In the process, I, a walker, not a runner, have found that wearing these shoes, which allow me to intimately feel the ground and get the immediate feedback that forces me to adjust my slightly lopsided gait and have better form, have forever ruined me for other footwear, which now feels like wearing bricks on my feet So in less than 12 months, our lives have completely reorganized themselves around the process of doing everything we can to get the word out about huaraches and the overall natural movement movement and its recognition that expensive, highly structured athletic shoes are not your friend It s a huge project, one that has me working harder than I have in a decade And, irony of ironies, it is also one that has left me with far less time to read than I had a year ago.Damned life changing books.

  2. says:

    I realise I m in minority here but I really didn t enjoy this book at all As a result of all the rave reviews I bought a copy for both myself and a friend we were both hugely disappointed.The author, Christopher McDougall, is an American magazine correspondent and this perhaps goes someway to explain a lot of what I didn t like about the book To begin with, it is written in a totally omniscient manner, ie McDougall can see inside everyone s head This is excessive, continuous, and extends right across the board from events to which he was privy, through events to which he was not, on to imagined eureka moments of various research scientists In a similar manner, he describes events from the past, where he wasn t present, in a way he clearly feels will paint some sort of picture eg Then she wiped her greasy mouth on her sports bra, burped up some Dew, and bounded off Maybe she did wipe her mouth on her sports bra, but it seems doubtful, and I feel quite sure she never gave him an account, years later, of her burp In a similar vein I confess that I didn t like the continuous use of words like chomp instead of eat and chug instead of drink I imagine that is just a difference in usage when comparing opposite sides of the Atlantic but I did find myself wishing someone would just eat something And I do wonder if the use of block capitals as well as italics was really necessary I am not talking about the start of each chapter but sentences like I remember thinking What in the HELL How in the HELL is this possible That was the first thing, the first CHINK IN THE WALL, that MAYYYBEE modern shoe companies don t have all the answers nine of those lowercase words are in italics, which I can t format here.So, we clearly have a very fictionalised account But is any of it complete fiction Well, yes it is We are told on page 16 that the Tarahumara barely eat any protein at all Well, with a physiology degree to back it up, I can tell you that leads only one way to wasting and eventual death It comes as a bit of a surprise then to be told on page 209 that the traditional Tarahumara diet exceeds the United Nations recommended daily intake for protein by than 50 percent Perhaps by page 209 we are expected to have forgotten what he wrote earlier.On page 157 we are told, in relation to qualifying for the Boston Marathon that 99.9 percent of all runners never will Really And how was that figure arrived at For any average runner who puts in training, qualifying for Boston like me is not difficult 20,000 runners run it every year not qualify, which will be many, many times actually run it The implication behind his figure is that only 1 in 1000 marathoners who would specifically like to qualify do, ie 19,980,000 don t, which is clearly rubbish His misuse of percentages crops up several times It is patronising to the reader to assume that he doesn t understand what a percentage means And it makes one than doubt when we are told figures like 70 to 80 percent A particular problem with this is that it sounds as if he is being authorative when, in fact, he s not.His problem with Math s unfortunately isn t limited to the use of hyperbole with percentages He unwittingly shows his problem, in typical journalistic style, in rather stark detail On page 239, to work out how much older than 27 is an age that is equivalent to the increase in age from 19 to 27, he has to get out his notebook All righty I flipped my notebook to a blank page and started jotting numbers It takes I ll spare you the next four lines He comes up with 36 Point made.But it is the disingenuous nature of much of his writing that I really took exception to I will give two examples One who do you think ran the fastest a Page 15 Lance Armstrong is one of the greatest endurance athletes of all time, and he could barely shuffle through his first marathon despite sucking down an energy gel nearly every mile b Page 157 Tedtransformed himselfintoa barefoot marathoner with such speed that he was able to accomplish something that 99.9 percent of all runners never will he qualified for the Boston Marathon I ve already talked about the 99.9 percent Answer We don t know because we aren t told their times Well, I can tell you Lance Armstrong, by a long way In 2006 his shuffle resulted in a time of 2 59 36 and he came 868th out of 37,866 finishers a brilliant result for a first marathon and ten minutes under the very fastest age group Boston qualifying time And Barefoot Ted In 2006 he completed the Boston Marathon in 3 20 16, coming in 3,848th out of 19,682 finishers Not a shuffle either, but in a completely different, and slower, league In fact, to refer to a result under three hours faster than seven minutes a mile as a shuffle is just gratuitiously insulting McDougall seems to have a downer on Armstrong, as he slates him elsewhere in the book the reason never becomes apparent.Two Why do you think Abele Bikila the Ethiopian marathoner who ran barefoot over the cobblestones of Rome to win the 1960 Olympic marathon didn t wear shoes we are told this interesting fact in a paragraph about Barefoot Ted researching the benefits of barefoot running Well, I can tell you, although the book doesn t, that it wasn t anything to do with the benefits of barefoot running What we aren t told in the book is that Abele Bikila had an upset before the 1960 marathon and couldn t find a pair of shoes to fit and decided to chance running barefoot as he had trained that way nor are we told that he chose to run in shoes at the subsequent 1964 Olympics.On the subject of barefoot running, it s interesting that the photograph on the back of the hardback edition shows five runners, presumably principal characters from the book, all wearing running shoes.Turning to the so called scientific research that McDougall is fond of reporting, again we must doubt a lot of what we are told Why Because it is presented in a way we can t trust Yes, some of it may be true, but how much And how much are we being presented with information that is propounded as fact or we are led to believe shows one thing, but may show something else Just one set of examples will make the general point Page 170 no matter how much you run, your odds of getting hurt are the same This is utter rubbish and is clearly so, using reductio ad absurdum, apart from all the evidence to the contrary.Page 171 Is any shoe manufacturer prepared to claim that wearing their distance running shoes will decrease your risk ofinjuries or improve your distance running performance No shoe manufacturer followed up the Dr Richard s challenge The conclusion is drawn that running shoes don t make you go faster and don t stop you from getting hurt. This is absolute twaddle and I won t insult anyone s intelligence by explaining why.Page 172 The conclusion that McDougall draws from a study that found that Wearers of expensive running shoesare injured significantly frequently than runners wearing expensive shoes is the following What a cruel joke for double the price, you get double the pain Possibly, possibly Could it just be that the buyers of expensive shoes are those runners who push the boundaries of their training aggressively Unfortunately, the whole book is stuffed with this sort of biased writing dressed up as scientific fact we are used to it in the popular press we get a bookful here For those of you interested in the science , I recommend reading this could go on, about the very dubious anthropological details, nutrition and hydration anomalies etc, but I have written too much already.The book is just an adventure story, fiction based on fact enjoy it if you can stomach the style just take everything with a very big pinch of salt For anyone considering it, at the very least don t purchase the Kindle edition there is a spelling mistake on the first page that doesn t bode well for the rest of the book the spelling mistake is not there in the print edition.

  3. says:

    So I picked this book up, thinking it would be a cool story about this lost tribe of distance runners which it was but I got soooo much than I bargained for.Yes, I did learn about the Tarahumara tribe, but I also learned about the biomechanics of running and how shoe manufacturers disregard runner safety in preference of turning a profit, ultramarathons and the hardcore runners who participate in them, the lawless culture of Copper Canyon, the nearly lost techniques of persistence hunting, the evolution of the human body, and on and on and on.This is my all time favourite kind of book entertaining, sure, but chock full of information I ve never even thought about before I m kind of a geek I just love to learn new stuff I went into this thinking that it would probably be a pretty good book, but maybe best for super athletes, but nothing could be further from the truth This book is for anyone who enjoys discovering new ideas and information It also might inspire you to pick up your running shoes or not and hit the trails for a nice long run.

  4. says:

    With its excessive hyperbole, convenient omissions, misleading statistics, logical inconsistencies and plain old errors, I stopped thinking about this book as actual journalism after fifty pages Trying to read it as a novel wasn t that satisfying either because the book reads like several magazine pieces glued together rather than one continuous work The personality profiles of Jenn and Billy and the screed against running shoes felt particularly extraneous However, the book has a fun core of semi mystical lost knowledge and its someone recently brainwashed to a weird secular cult tone made the book enjoyable.

  5. says:

    Truly, I cannot recall the last time I read a book that I loved as much as this.Should you think this book is for serious runners alone, please think again I am not by any means a runner I ran track in high school, but the runs I did were short, sweet, sprints After high school, I had a difficult time finding 200 yard dashes to race in, so I did a few 5k s I didn t love them much at all There was no way I was going to win a 5k, not ever The distance just sucked In retrospect, some training may have helped I looked at most distance runners as mentally ill something was wrong with those people They were running from something, I decided, maybe from being fat, or being sad, maybe running from addictions or desires Nuts All of them Maybe I was just jealous of their slow twitch muscle fibers Most of the time I found the races to be miserable, and looking at most of the runners, it seemed they did too Grimaces, frowns, bloody nipples, knee braces yeah, FUN This book jogged my memory of those few times I did find running to be fun One of those times was during a 5K called Hair of the Frog , put on by a local brewery It was early spring, it was cold, raining ice, There was thunder and lightning I m not sure if it was oxygen deprivation, or perhaps that amazing runner s high, but midway through the race, I was in nirvana The trees around me looked beautiful encased in ice I felt amazing Alive Primal It did not matter that I was not going to win this race In fact, this race even had an award for finishing DFL, Dead F ing Last It was then that I got it I understood why some people really love to run Had it not been for the pints of beer waiting at the finish line, I m pretty sure I would have rerun the course with glee Over time, I forgot about that sensation, busy with life, I rarely ran I remember now Author Christopher McDougall writes about and participates in extreme adventure sports He struggles with running injuries The doctors suggest shots, orthotics, and offer the advice, if it hurts, stop doing it While in Mexico on an assignment, McDougall discovers the Tarahumara, an anthropological gem a superhuman species, hidden deep in the formidable Sierra Madres These people run extreme distances, and they run into old age, when the rest of the world resigns to rocking chairs McDougall sets out to find these people, to discover how they run without injury, how they continue to run into old age In the process, meets a man, Caballo Blanco, who wants to set up a race between these superhumans and the elite ultra runners of the United States.There is so much to this book than people running This book talks about culture, society, obsession, science One of the most compelling parts of the book the evidence presented that we are indeed born to run One scientist points to the nuchal ligament on the back of our skulls, which fast moving animals have to keep the head in place while running The topic of persistence hunting comes in to support the point and it is utterly fascinating Running on two legs may not make us as fast as the quadripeds, but it does allow us to breathe efficiently And all these fabulous sweat glands we have We can run longer without overheating, unlike the mammals not as well equipped with such a cooling system we may not be fast enough to run down a deer in minutes, but after enduring for several miles, we can overtake the deer as it drops from overheating and exhaustion.The cast of characters is simply amazing I have already mentioned my thought that serious runners are a bit off in the head The group of ultrarunners mentioned in the book may make the case for me We meet Jenn and Billy, two surfer kids turned ultrarunners, that party all night to the point of puking, and get a few hours of sleep by passing out and rise, ready to go for a VERY long run Jack Kirk, an elderly trail runner, is mentioned briefly, but was so fascinating I had to google him There s Barefoot Ted, running trails sans shoes or if his feet need protection, he uses Vibram Five Fingers And the mastermind behind the race, Caballo Blanco, a gringo who indeed was running from something.This story is so, SO worth reading.The only thing that could have improved the book pictures.Now, if you ll excuse me, there s a trail calling me to run.Maybe I am a runner after all.

  6. says:

    Painful as it was, I stayed with this until slightly past the halfway mark I kept hoping I might learn about the Tarahumara people, but it was not to be There s very little about the Tarahumara, and almost everything about a bunch of self absorbed, obsessive long distance runners I have no patience with extreme athletes They need to strive for some balance in their lives The sport is not everything I also got tired of the gee golly wow ain t it all just lipsmackingly wild and amazing reporting style A little objectivity and a lot less hipness, Mr McDougall.

  7. says:

    You don t stop running because you get old you get old because you stop running.After hearing my running friends rave about this book for years, I finally got around to reading it And now I owe them an apology, because I had gotten so sick of being preached at about chia seeds and running barefoot and vegetarianism and ultramarathons that I have been quietly rolling my eyes whenever anyone mentioned this friggin book But once I got into the story, all of my eye rolls stopped Sure, there were a few groans about McDougall s punchy, magazine writing style that doesn t always translate well to book form, but overall, this was an engrossing read It covers a motley cast of outdoorsy characters from America and Mexico, including the elite runners of the elusive Tarahumara Indian tribe, several incredible foot races, research on running and training methods, and there is even a captivating digression into how the Bushmen of the Kalahari go hunting At its heart, the story is about human endurance, compassion for others, and the theory that our bodies were born to run There is a thoughtful chapter on the evolution of homo sapiens from other mammals, and the ways in which the human form is designed to be able to cover an incredible amount of distance Know why people run marathons Because running is rooted in our collective imagination, and our imagination is rooted in running Language, art, science space shuttles, Starry Night, intravascular surgery they all had their roots in our ability to run Running was the superpower that made us human which means it s a superpower all humans possess As mentioned, there are also sections on the nutritional power of chia seeds, vegetarianism, and a training theory that runners should spend time barefoot to build up their strength I won t lecture you about any of that as I had found it exhausting when others preached to me there is a line between enthusiasm and evangelism , but I did find the information interesting and will take it under advisement Along the way, McDougall shares his own stories of running injuries and how he found different trainers to teach him ways to run efficiently and with joy Yes, joy How do you flip the internal switch that changes us all back into the Natural Born Runners we once were Not just in history, but in our own lifetimes Remember Back when you were a kid and you had to be yelled at to slow down Every game you played, you played at top speed, sprinting like crazy as you kicked cans, freed all, and attacked jungle outposts in your neighbors backyards That was the real secret of the Tarahumara they d never forgotten what it felt like to love running They remembered that running was mankind s first fine art, our original act of inspired creation Way before we were scratching pictures on caves or beating rhythms on hollow trees, we were perfecting the art of combining our breath and mind and muscles into fluid self propulsion over wild terrain Distance running was revered because it was indispensable it was the way we survived and thrived and spread across the planet You ran to eat and to avoid being eaten you ran to find a mate and impress her, and with her you ran off to start a new life together You had to love running, or you wouldn t live to love anything else The narrative builds to an amazing foot race in the blazing hot Copper Canyons of Mexico, with some top American athletes competing against a group of Tarahumara runners Friends, I would be lying if I said I made it through that incredible story without getting choked up by the beauty of what happened that day I could share quotes, but I think you need to read it in context and experience the grit and grace and humanity for yourself This book was so inspiring that I vowed to make an effort to go running often And I shall run with joy and compassion in my heart.

  8. says:

    This has to be one of my favorite books of the last few years It s non fiction, but it reads like a thrilling adventure, complete with a high octane conclusion, all with a bit of science thrown in It s a fantastic look at the sport of ultra distance running, but trust me when I say that once you start reading, it s impossible to put down.

  9. says:

    While I am not a runner, I found this book to be quite engaging I can recommend it to anyone interested in running, indigenous peoples, or wacky characters This book is about long distance races over rugged, desert terrain It is about a hidden tribe, the Tarahumara, who live in the Copper Canyone area of the Sierra Madre, a remote, desert region in Mexico The tribe is very wary of strangers They speak their own native language They live in a rugged, wild country that takes days to reach Just getting there is dangerous, as it involves evading drug runners and rugged, roadless desert terrain It is a wonder that the tribe flourishes, because just getting from one village to another requires enormous athleticism and stamina But this seems to be no problem for the Tarahumara, many of whom are superathletes They frequently run enormous distances, over 100 miles, without a problem They don t wear running shoes they usually wear homemade sandals made of a thin strip of rubber.The main story is about a 50 mile race through Copper Canyon in a heat scorching sun Many colorful characters compete in the race Their attitudes toward life and toward running are fun and often funny I cannot imagine how some of them could have made it out of the desert alive at all, let alone made it across the finish line The most surprising part of the book is the description of how high end running shoes tend to slow runners down and make runners twice as prone to injuries as low end shoes Imagine their surprise when Nike employees visited a college track team, and saw that they were practicing barefoot Running barefoot is less conducive to injuries that top of the line running shoes The antics of a couple of the characters in the book started to make me feel like this was just a sophomoric book about happy go lucky college kids But there was enough interest in the book to keep me engaged to the very last page.I didn t read this book I listened to the audiobook version Fred Sanders is a very good reader, and his accents sounded realistic and help propel the story forward.

  10. says:

    What a weird, wonderful true story Upon finishing this, I spent the better part of the day on YouTube, looking for any additional information I could find on the Tarahumara tribe, chia seeds, Caballo Blanco, Scott Jurek, Ann Trason, the Leadville Trail Race, running barefoot, persistence hunting, even the author Christopher McDougall It was everything I didn t know I needed to know about ultra running, why we run, and the legends in the sport The novel takes the reader on a wild and random trip, down multiple rabbit holes, all subjects equally fascinating and Google worthy The cast of characters are unforgettable runners party animals Jenn Shelton and Billy Barnett particularly Jenny were an absolute delight It culminates in one of the most interesting races I had never heard of.Terrific audiobook I was sad when it was over.Note Caballo Blanco passed away in 2012 this is not mentioned in the book Rest in Peace What a beautiful soul Reports say he was found in a canyon in New Mexico, very close to the way he said he hoped we would pass in the novel.

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