Born to Run

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDouall

What if an investigative journalist decides to tackle a personal problem? What if this problem is this: my foot hurts, how can I make it stop? This is the simple questions that set Christopher on a journey that finds him on the path with Scott Jurek (see Eat and Run), the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico and some other amazing people. Along the way, we dive into the science and non-science of running.

The most surprising thing about this book are the revelations about running(shoes) that I was taking for granted. A shoe that has more cushioning and helps correct your foot should help you prevent injury… right? It turns out that the rate of injury has not gone down a single digit since the invention of the modern running shoe (1970). Isn’t that odd? Christopher thought the same and found out that a soft shoe also makes for soft feet, and that a bigger cushion translated into us putting down our feet more thoroughly to compensate for the lost sense of feeling the ground.

What it also shows is that a very average (but not unhealthy) man, 40 years of age, can train to run a 50-mile race through very unforgiving terrain. The last chapters of the book describe a fascinating race between Scott, the Tarahumara’s best runners, a dozen of the other bests in the world, and Christopher. He takes twice as long as the fastest person (guess who) to finish, but does it. It’s an amazing accomplishment and is only overshadowed by how this book gives a beautiful insight into running and it’s crazy culture.

See below for a video of Christopher talking about running, the evolutionary story and some more about our running shoes.