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Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the… (2009)

by Christopher McDougall

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,9792192,463 (4.23)113
McDougall reveals the secrets of the world's greatest distance runners--the Tarahumara Indians of Copper Canyon, Mexico--and how he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of super-athletic Americans.
  1. 50
    ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running by Danny Dreyer (ahstrick)
  2. 30
    Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (zhejw)
    zhejw: Both books are stories of outsiders changing the conventional way of approaching a sport. Both authors write compelling narratives that draw the reader into the stories of the individuals who are at the center of this new way of looking at their sport.
  3. 30
    Why We Run: A Natural History by Bernd Heinrich (jochenB, Ronoc)
  4. 20
    Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (bluenotebookonline)
    bluenotebookonline: There are interesting parallels between Caballo Blanco and Chris McCandless (the protagonist in Into the Wild).
  5. 00
    Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves by James Nestor (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Both about a common activity we all do (running/swimming), giving up technology (shoes/scuba gear) and ancient latent ability in us all.
  6. 00
    Runner's World Guide to Road Racing: Run Your First (or Fastest) 5-K, 10-K, Half-Marathon, or Marathon by Katie Mcdonald Neitz (Ronoc)
  7. 00
    Running by Jean Echenoz (Ronoc)
  8. 00
    A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York by Liz Robbins (_Zoe_)
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» See also 113 mentions

English (211)  Spanish (3)  Russian (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (217)
Showing 1-5 of 211 (next | show all)
I did not want this wonderful book to end! There is no doubt in my mind that we were born to run and I intend to the rest of the way. ( )
  wnhastings | Apr 28, 2022 |
I'm pretty sure this book will change my life as a runner and is immediately in the discussion for one of my favorite books ever. ( )
  nrfaris | Dec 23, 2021 |
One of the most motivating books I have ever read. Not that is was necessarily written as a motivational book but the history and knowledge contained in this book from hundreds of years of human history is amazing and motivates me to run and use these proven principles to improve my running and my daily life in ways I would have not imagined ( )
  Crystal199 | Sep 27, 2021 |
This book came at the worst time for me. I've been running a few miles every day since summer started, but the day I started reading this book was the day my calves decided to give out after I went jump-roping/overrunning Monday/Tuesday. Imagine reading back-to-back passages about runners who could speed through dozens upon dozens of miles in one sitting (running?) while you're sprawled on the sofa, your legs feeling like they've been scooped out with a spoon, and that spoon is currently moving from the blueberry bowl and into your mouth.

Born to Run was super accessible: Fast, easy, and all the other adjectives Caballo used to try and make Christopher McDougall move his legs like the White Horse. His writing had "cool" scribbled all over it. So did his adventures in Mexico and the background ultramarathanoning research he so expertly narrated. I especially loved the biology chapter that explained why human beings really evolved, through a running lens, which is awesome.

Overall, I had few qualms with this book, too few and too minor to move it to a 4-star. I wish I could learn more about the narrator, Christopher, who seemed like too much of an enigma as a protagonist--more than the fact that he's an often-injured journalist. I also agree that he exaggerates way too much, and that it definitely serves as a flaw in the way we perceive him and his stories. However, I think the hyperbole also thrust the narrative forward in a pace I've rarely encountered in non-fiction like this. Definitely read this if you run and want to learn more about this habit of yours. ( )
  Gadi_Cohen | Sep 22, 2021 |
very cool. it had been recommended to my by a bunch of people, but was much better than i expected, i wasn't expecting the whole great story and super-people.

I thought it was just another running book. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Excellent storytelling.
  royragsdale | Sep 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 211 (next | show all)
“Born to Run” is not the best book on the intricacies of the sport—my pick would be Timothy Noakes’s “Lore of Running”; for a training guide, I’d select Scott Douglas and Pete Pfitzinger’s “Advanced Marathoning”—but it’s certainly the most accessible and the best selling... the real virtue of McDougal’s book is that it reminded readers about our primal connection to running, the purest of sports. It reminded us that there are different ways to run—some of which hurt our bodies more than others. And it gave us new ways of appreciating distance running. It has, in other words, made hundreds of thousands of people look at the sport again
 
"Born to Run" uses every trick of creative nonfiction, a genre in which literary license is an indispensable part of truth-telling. McDougall has arranged and adrenalized his story for maximum narrative impact. Questions crop up about the timing of events and the science behind the drama, but it's best to keep pace with him and trust that -- separate from the narrative drama -- we're actually seeing a glimpse of running's past and how it may apply to the present and the future.
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christopher McDougallprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sanders, FredNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The best runner leaves no tracks. - Tao Te Ching
Dedication
To John and Jean McDougall, my parents, who gave me everything and keep on giving
First words
For days, I'd been searching Mexicon's Sierra Madre for the phantom known as Caballo Blanco - the White Horse
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Canonical LCC
McDougall reveals the secrets of the world's greatest distance runners--the Tarahumara Indians of Copper Canyon, Mexico--and how he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of super-athletic Americans.

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Book description
El misterioso pueblo de los tarahumaras, un grupo de superatletas y la más increíble carrera jamás contada
Haiku summary
Running shoes are bad.
Run long, run easy, run fast.
Run each race for joy.

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