01. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

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01. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Post  twunny on Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:16 pm

"A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen"

Wow. This book blew my mind. I first heard about it while watching "The Daily Show" one evening. The author was on, trying to give the gist of it. And he did a good enough job to get me interested, but barely scraped the surface. I'll try to do this book justice.

This book is about a lot of things. It's primarily focused on a tribe of Native (Mexican) Americans called the "Tarahumara." They were persecuted by the Conquistadors several hundred years ago. Rather than fight back or fade away, they ran. Running is what they are good at. And they are better at it than any other human beings in the history of the world. They do not have fancy Nikes, they don't really train...it's just their way of life. They run Ultramarathons (that's 100 miles at a stretch) as community events. In one of the most unforgiving landscapes on Earth, the Copper Canyons.

These people have run under the radar for a long time. But they have also been interwoven with quests for answers to burning questions: "How much is a human capable of?" "Why do we run?" and (the question that got the ball rolling on this book:) "Why does my foot hurt?"

The Tarahumara have virtually no ailments. No cancer. No heart disease. No obesity. No foot or leg injuries caused by exercise. In studying the different aspects of this people, the author delves into wonderful stories with unbelievable characters. Epic histories of superhuman feats. Historical epics of superhuman feet. Biological studies. Philosophical questions. Every corner of the issues leading up to one big event: a race.

One mysterious loner, known for most of the book as "Caballo Blanco" (the White Horse), pulls together several Tarahumara, some of the world's best Ultramarathoners, and one barely trained journalist (McDougall) for a 50-mile race through the Mexican desert. It is simply amazing.

The book was incredibly thought-provoking and emotional. I really liked it. I have never read anything like it. It made me want to run.

Highly recommended.

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