May 29, 2009

Review - Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall is, without a doubt, the best non-fiction book I have ever read. It's an exciting, educational, humourous, heart-warming tale about the human condition and human evolution.

I enjoyed every minute of reading about the Tarahumara tribe in northern Mexico (the Running People) and the entire cast of characters including Caballo Blanco, Barefoot Ted, Scott Jurek, and especially Christopher McDougall's story of overcoming injurious adversity to become an ultramarathoner.

The book is the journey and culmination of the author's quest to answer one question:
How come my foot hurts?
It includes eye-opening revelations about running shoe marketing and the current state of running injuries.

It includes anthropological evidence supporting the Running Man theory of human evolution as well as the story about the origins of the theory itself. As a scientist myself, I found these chapters particularly captivating.

The book is filled with facts and statistics on the past and present history of running and why it is a fundamental necessity for humans to run not only for health but for happiness. Throughout its pages, one can find personal as well as general inspirational quotes including:
Ask nothing from your running...and you'll get more than you ever imagined. (byJoe Vigil)
If there's a magic bullet to make human beings healthy, it's to run. (by Dr. Daniel Lieberman from Harvard University)
You don't stop running because you get old. You get old because you stop running. (by Jack Kirk, the "Dipsea Demon" who ran the Dipsea Race at the age of 96)
I've shared my joy of reading this book with many people already, including runners and non-runners. It is a truly inspirational read and I highly recommend it to anyone. Thank you, Christopher McDougall for compiling an impressive and inspirational array of running facts and stories, and sharing your own story of personal triumph and victory.