Friday, July 15, 2011

Born to Run

This book got a lot of attention a few years back, mainly for having brought the minimalist running movement into the mainstream.  I got the book because I heard it had some good info about running form, but I found it had so much more than that.

It is the true story of Christopher McDougall's odyssey into the world of an ancient Mexican people called the Tarahumara who live in a remote canyon, speak their own distinct language and have a culture built around running.  In the Tarahumara tongue, their name for themselves actually means "the running people."  They will go on 120 mile treks through blazing hot canyons while covering their feet with only sandals.  And these aren't just the few star athletes; most Tarahumara people can do this.

What happened to McDougall was an incredible personal journey, and he tells it with the prowess of the best novelists.  The book contains stories within stories, and the many eccentric people he meets along the way are painted with vivid detail.  For example, the story of Ann Trason battling two Tarahumara men in a grueling 100-mile race through the mountains of Colorado is as thrilling a sports story as I have ever experienced.  It's quite possibly the most exciting book I've ever read, and what's amazing is that it is absolutely true.  Maybe that's why it is so exciting, because you know these are real people having amazing experiences in a bizarre and inspiring sport.

Every runner should read this book, but I think everyone else should read it too, because it is just a great story.

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