Monday, September 20, 2010

Jess' Review: Born to Run (Christopher McDougall)

Title: Born to Run
Author: Christopher McDougall
Publisher: Knopf, 2009
Notes: I checked this book out of the library.

Like many other runners, I was drawn to Born to Run because it captured the tale of the fascinating Tarahumara Indians—a community of cultural ultramarathon runners in Mexico. This book is much more than a book about running, though.

McDougall's book takes the reader on a whirlwind adventure through the dangerous Copper Canyons of Mexico and some of the craziest ultramarathons in the U.S. The first two-thirds of the book centers around his experiences trying to find the mysterious Tarahumara—and a man who has become associated with them, Caballo Blanco (White Horse). Along the way, McDougall introduces some light sociopolitical issues in Mexico—though certainly not enough to irritate the anti-politics reader—and offers a humorous outlook on the experience. Later in the book he gets to the more physiological stuff that will probably interest runners and forensic anthropologists more than anyone else.

Why would I recommend this book to a non-runner? This book will resonate with people who get thrills from Nando Parrado's Miracle in the Andes or any of Jon Krakauer's works. It is a book rich in history, humor, and culture. The characters McDougall meets along the way are unusual and more than a little eccentric, but if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself attached to them. If you are interested in running or exercise physiology, this book might have you reeling; it defies everything you thought you understood about running shoes and pronation.

Review: 5 stars


  1. I HATE running. lol. I only liked it during a lacrosse game. Running on the track was like torture to me. I have a sister who does cross country and she's tried to explain how great running is and how calming it can be but I just don't get it.

    I do think this does sound interesting though. Have you read Haruki Murakami’s What I Think About When I Think About Running? I heard that is supposed to be a good one for runners!

  2. My sister bought me this book because I'm absolutely addicted to running. I loved it, too! The story just resonates, and it's definitely an interesting read. Great review! :)

  3. Jamie, I did like the Murakami memoir! I read it twice, actually. I also hated running in high school, but it's one of those things that if you pick it up later on, it can be really addicting.

    I'm glad you liked both the book and the review, Melissa!

  4. My husband loved this book. He tells everyone about it.


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