ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Book Review of Christopher McDougall's Born to Run

Updated on July 7, 2012
"The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art" -Leonardo da Vinci.
"The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art" -Leonardo da Vinci. | Source

I came upon this book because my brother wouldn't stop babbling about it. What he spouted sounded like it was coming from the equivalent of the National Inquirer for Runner's World magazine. For the first time in a while though, he stopped making fun of me for wearing toe shoes. After he was done with it, I picked it up hoping I could trudge my way through it and get back into the swing of reading something that wasn't a textbook. This book really doesn't need another review. It is a national bestseller. The author was interviewed on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and I think it's already a classic among runners. Still, I felt compelled to write a review of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. I decided to write a hub because the resources I wanted to include could not be added to an Amazon review, and I love hubpages. I'll cut to it straight away. If you read this article, basically an excerpt from the book, and you're not intrigued, don't read the book.

Why does my foot hurt?

This is the question that started author Christopher McDougall on his epic search and lead to the writing of this skillful novel. After running and rubbing his feet in pain, after seeing podiatrists for cortisone shots, he wanted to know why running causes so many injuries. Are humans uniquely bad in the animal kingdom at running?

As with any great question, one just spawns more. Homoerectus, one of our earliest ancestors, appeared almost two million years ago, but weapons and "complex" tools only appeared about 200,000 years ago. As far as we can tell, our large brains could only come from dense caloric foods, i.e. meat. So how did we hunt animals without tools? McDougall probes cutting edge science, top research teams, and experts to see alternative views that are now becoming mainstream, but what about a more practical question?

Tarahumara men.
Tarahumara men. | Source
Tarahumara women in their native lands.
Tarahumara women in their native lands. | Source

Are there any groups of people that run and don't get injured?

McDougall seems to have a journalist's dream job as he delves into the recesses of Mexico to find a rumored tribe of Indian superathletes, the Tarahumara (pronounced tah-rah-oo-mah-rah, Spanish style). These people run multiple marathons in a day, and then wake up to do it again the next. There are almost no instances of running related injury, almost no western world diseases like diabetes, along with a society that features no crime or cruelty. The book doesn't push you into one view and say that's the answer. The information is laid out in front of you, and you can reach your own conclusions.

The tribe is so secretive that McDougall chases after a man who is said to have ingratiated himself with the Tarahumara. This man, nicknamed Caballo Blaco or the White Horse, is a mysterious Caucasian male who seems to have abandoned a previous life to live in the outbacks of Mexico and run insanely long distances. McDougall first tracks Caballo to learn some of the secrets of the diet, gear, and lifestyle of uninjured runners, but the strange and charismatic story of Caballo soon becomes a focus for the whole book.

Caballo has a plan.

It involves a 50 mile race between the best runners of the Tarahumara tribe and the best runners of the U.S. It's mostly for the love of running, but winning involves prizes and notoriety for all involved, especially for the Tarahumara. The tough part isn't the running but how to put it all together!

This story is captivating from page one and has you rooting all the way. By the end, you really feel as though you were right there with these larger than life people. You begin to feel their struggle and enjoy their success. It also gives a very unique, insider look at the Tarahumara way of life. At the very least, it makes you want to get up and run!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)