i don’t even know where to begin talking about this amazing book. the entire time i was reading it i remarked to everyone who would listen that it is one of the ten or fifteen best books i’ve ever read, and i stand by that declaration. but i guess i have to start somewhere.
we were born to run; we were born because we run. we’re all running people, as the tarahumara have always known.
christopher mcdougall’s born to run is a book about running, yes, but it’s much more than that. it’s about life. it’s about how our bodies were made. it’s about pushing yourself even when you think you have no more to give. it’s about a culture that has survived for nearly 2,000 years with little-to-no exposure to the outside world. and it is about breaking barriers and forging friendships over some of the most unforgiving terrain in the world.
born to run tells the story of the legendary tarahumara tribe of mexico. the tribe live practically at the ends of the earth, deep within the canyons, and have cultivated a reputation for being the best ultrarunners in the world. while others train for years to run a 50- or 100-mile race, it is often all in a day’s work for the tarahumara.
at the same time, born to run also explores the intricacies of the human body. why do we run the way we do? why do some people appear to glide while others stomp their way around? how can you strategically run down another person or an animal, either during a race or out in the wild? have advances in modern running shoes helped or actually hindered our natural ability to run?
mcdougall interweaves these two stories effortlessly, with each chapter gliding into the next. when i picked up the book and began reading, i was amazed at how quickly i flew through the opening chapters and how invested i was in the story. i quite literally could not talk about anything else, bugging my brother and anyone else i could pin down to discuss running techniques and whether i should try running barefoot* and how incredible it is to still have stories like the tarahumara’s in this day-and-age.
but as quickly as i rushed through the beginning of the book, i deliberately took three days to finish the final fifty pages of the book, because i simply did not want the book to end. finishing meant leaving people i had come to think of as friends. it meant the end of the race, which i was not ready for.
in case it’s not readily apparent, this was one of the best books i’ve read since anthony doerr’s all the light we cannot see at the beginning of last year. except for one chapter toward the end that i thought was a little out of place, it sailed by. i learned a lot, i met some interesting characters – in every sense of the word – and i laughed and cheered along with the spectators at the end of the race. it really was a joy to read, and i cannot recommend it highly enough. a note of warning to my friends who run — don’t be surprised if this is your birthday gift this year 🙂
my goodreads rating: 5 out of 5 [obviously] // average rating is 4.27
crossing off the popsugar reading list: a book you own but have never read. i can’t believe it took me this long to finally read it.
currently reading: just started lauren groff’s fates and furies; slowly making my way through a path appears; almost finished with camille pagan’s life and other near death experiences and chamber of secrets.
i underlined so many sentences and paragraphs throughout the book that i will share all of those in a separate post. for today, i leave you with this:
i don’t want anyone to do anything except come run, party, dance, eat, and hang with us. running isn’t about making people buy stuff. running should be free, man.
have you read born to run? were you as fascinated by it as i was?