Book Review: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Title: Born to Run
Author: Christopher McDougall
Series: None
Publisher: Knopf
Released: May 5, 2009

Book Summary:

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 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 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.

I am not a runner. I would never have picked up this book on my own but it was this month’s book club book. It delves into the world of barefoot and long distance racing. I found it fascinating. I’ve always hated to wear shoes and go barefoot whenever I can and I now feel justified.

Written like a memoir it was often hard to distinguish fact from opinion. I still found the world of these ultra runners to be intriguing.

The life of the Tarahumara is unlike anything I’ve heard of before. And ultrarunning…I’d heard of Iron Man races before but 100 miles in the desert? I actually googled the people and events chronicled in this book to learn more.

 How would you like to run 100 miles in these shoes?

You’ll never convince me to run 100 mile race in the desert or even a marathon but you might just find me at the park running barefoot one day soon. At least I’m considering it after reading this book.

Rating: 4 Stars – Great Book

Content: Language including the F word

Source: Library


  1. Gonzalo Fernandez says:

    One of the finest book I´ve ever read. Insipiring, helped me overrun the limits I was imposing myself when running. Now I feel I can run as much as I wish and I do it and I have found time everyday I think is fine to take my share of race.