Monday, July 27, 2009

Book Review: Born To Run


This book is all over the place. I first heard about it through my running friend Nathan Sanel. Nate was shopping at Barnes and Nobles one night and noticed the book sitting on the wall behind the register. He asked the clerk if he could look at it, he ended up buying it and read it. Nate told me about his new enthusiasm to run, how great the book was and his new found enthusiasm for life in general. He also mentioned that the book had been discussed quite a bit on the Ultra-list. I had looked over these postings, but was now growing more and more intrigued.

So I went out to Barnes and Nobles myself one night, and Sarah bought it for me as a gift. A gift for which I am eternally grateful. I've read a few books, slowly... I even have a few books here that I keep on the coffee table. I poke through them, slowly and at my leisure. But Born To Run became the first book in my life that I couldn't put down. I was hooked from cover to cover and ended up reading the entire book in less then a week. It was the PERFECT book to read while heading into the Vermont 100 because just like Nate, it was one of the most inspirational books I've ever read.

The book tells us the stories of those Leadville 100's where the Tarahumara indians ran and showed us mere mortals what long distance running is all about. We learn about the lives of the Tarahumara, their intricacies, their predators and the keys to their very existence. The book goes on to tell us of their eating and drinking habits, their amazing ability to run mile upon mile without getting tired... just a simply amazing look at an indigenous people.

The real meat and potatoes of the book describes Author Chris McDougall's journey to find out why his foot hurt when he run. A journey that no shoe company should be too excited to read. The barefoot revolution just got a proverbial boost of energy while the running shoe companies got a shot in the foot. With Vibram Five Fingers being mentioned in the book, the prices of these barefoot running tanks have gone up.... and rightfully so. Chris does an amazing job giving us various scientific explanations of how we homo sapiens were born to run, for survival and now for pleasure, and to do so minimally.

This book is by far the most important running book of our generation. I highly recommend it to runners and non-runners alike. If anything, it brings what many see as "crazy" to being "plausible." READ IT!