Friday, June 8, 2012

Born to Run

Happy Friday!! My best friend Lacey always does great reviews of books on her blog - Southern in the City. She links up to the blog Blonde…Undercover Blonde for Book Club Fridays. Since National Running Day was this Wednesday, I decided to link up today and share my comments on the book Born to Run. 

Born to Run  by Christopher McDougall

 Book Description /Synopsis
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.

My Thoughts
I want to start by saying that I really don’t read many books. Earlier this year I read The Hunger Games Series and the books were all three exciting and easy reads. After finishing The Hunger Games Series I started on Born to Run. I enjoyed Born to Run!! I will admit at times it was harder to get into than I expected (but I do have a harder time reading non-fiction books).

Being a runner I was able to relate to many of the things McDougall wrote about, but one thing stands out that I couldn’t agree with McDougall on.
 The book seems to blame high-tech running shoes for poor running form and injuries and talks highly of barefoot running. I do think runners need proper running shoes and that the best shoe or brand for one runner is not necessarily the best for the next runner. I just can’t imagine running barefoot. What happens if you step on a rock? I would completely fall apart. I am not brave enough to even try the five finger shoes. Socks and shoes are a must for running if you ask me.

I enjoyed all the running statistics in the book and I would like to share two of the items that surprised me the most.

Shocking Statistic #1
At the very beginning of the book, McDougall is referring to his recent running injury and states, “Take any other sport, and an injury rate like mine would classify me as defective. In running, it makes me normal. The real mutants are the runners who don’t get injured. Up to eight out of every ten runners are hurt every year. It doesn’t matter if you’re heavy or thin, speedy or slow, a marathon champ or a weekend huffer, you’re just as likely as the other guy to savage your knees, shins, hamstrings, hips or heels. Next time you line up for a Turkey Trot, look at the runners on your right and left: statistically, only one of you will be back for the Jingle Bell Jog.”

I knew runners got injured, but eight out of every ten runners? I now consider myself LUCKY, make that extremely lucky!

Shocking Statistic #2
Towards the end of the book McDougall refers to research done by Dr. Bramble and quotes the following statement by Dr. Bramble, “We monitored the results of the 2004 New York City Marathon and compared finishing times by age. What we found is that starting at age nineteen, runners get faster every year until they hit their peak at twenty-seven. After twenty-seven, they start to decline. So here’s the question - how old are you when you’re back to running the same speed you did at nineteen?”
You will never believe the age or at least I didn’t, it is 64!!! The difference between 27 and 19 is 8 and the difference between 64 and 27 is 37!! No wonder most of the runners in races are older. They can still run just as fast, if not faster, than younger runners.

My Final Thoughts
The book is a great motivational tool for past, present, and future runners. Thank you to Christopher McDougall for sharing his love of running as well as his knowledge.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! This sounds like a great book to motivate me to run! :) I just bought new running shoes so I'm inspired to start jogging again!

  2. this is in my amazon basket for a summer read-glad you enjoyed it.

    I have heard barefoot running is very good for you- although you basically have to learn how to run again.
    About age-I always thought ladies (long distace) were at there peak in their mid-thirties...I'm waiting to hit it!ha!