My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Summary from Goodreads (edited some by me): “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. 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.”
Definitely a worthwhile read. I’ll probably read it again someday too. Chapter 25 to the end was my favorite part. Every runner should read chapter 25 and chapter 28 and anyone who has ever wanted to run or even thought about wanting to run should read the book.
I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would though, especially since it is essentially responsible for my conversion to running. My husband read it first several years ago and decided that he and I should try barefoot or minimalist running technique. I had despised running all my life; it had never felt natural, it never felt good to be doing it. Then with my husband’s coaxing, I tried on a pair of minimalist running shoes; I immediately felt a difference. Just walking around the store I could tell my form was different in those shoes than in all the traditional running shoes I had always had. My first 1/4 mile run in the new shoes felt amazing, refreshing, rejuvenating. I felt strong (and also sore) after only a 1/4 mile. I had never run a full mile without walking before. Within 2 weeks I was running 3 miles without stopping and loving how it felt.
It took me a year to actually read the book that inspired that change, partially because I just don’t read much nonfiction. Hearing my husband talk about it I had thought I would be most interested in the story part of the book, that I would care most about “the greatest race the world has never seen.” But actually, I didn’t care all that much about it as I was reading. I felt there was lots of repetitive description of the Copper Canyons and the Tarahumara. Finding Caballo Blanco and getting the race all prepped also dragged for me. It was the science and the research that caught my attention. I would have loved to read more about the coaches and college running teams that train partially barefoot. I want more info about the studies scientists and coaches have been doing about running technique.
The writing is engaging though. It does not read like a textbook, but more like a novel. I came away from the read better able to describe why I finally fell in love with running, why I still love it, and why it was only after discovering “barefoot/minimalist” or good form running technique that I could truly consider myself “Born to Run.” Makes me want to get out and run. Maybe the Grand Canyon rim to rim?
Age Recommendation: This one will likely be of most interest to adults. Teens, especially those who are runners could appreciate it too.
Appropriateness: There is some profanity and drinking in the book. It is not the focus of the story by any means and did not detract from the motivating message.
I loved my sister-in-law’s review of this one too:
“It definitely makes you think. About running, about your feelings about running, about all your experiences running…It also makes you curious, about all the same things. It makes you go a little crazy…thinking about running 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons…what the hell, let’s run the Grand Canyon. It makes you start to hope, a little bit, that maybe, just maybe, you could learn to love to run, too. I’ve hated running ever since track in junior high. Now?….well, let’s just say I’m thinking…and hoping…and running.”
If you know her story it’s pretty incredible for her to be running, or even walking, after a accident with a horse left her with a crushed pelvis. If you want another amazing story please buy her audio CD called “Of Hope and Horses.” You can buy it here. I guarantee it will change your life, make you more grateful, more humble, and more ready to face your fears and LIVE.