The plan was to review this book as my first CBR8 review, but I simply could not stop turning pages. I had to finish it as soon as possible. My one-sentenc review: Born to Run is a book about will, the human spirit, living well, and sticking to the man. It’s very good and inspiring, but a smidge too hyperbolic to be five stars for me.
Born to Run has over 3,100 reviews on Amazon and a 4.5 star rating, so the odds are good that you have heard of it. The author, Christopher McDougall, was forty-ish year old guy who kind of liked running but could never quite get over the hump of injuries and short mileage. Through a bizarre turn of events that I still don’t completely understand, his desire to run better led to him meeting and running with ultramarathoners, the Tarahumara Native Americans in Mexico, doctors, and others. The book is a loose narrative of McDougall’s experience with an eclectic group who met for an endurance race in Mexico and a sort of physical communion. Peppered into the narrative are a lot of studies; observations; and history of running for sport, survival, and joy. The shoe industry doesn’t come out well, but the mad prophets of distance running do. So does the reader, now that I think about it.
My favorite parts of the book were the marriage of McDougall’s philosophizing on running with the science presented. I have never been much of a runner (more of a cyclist and hiker), but the book inspired me to get out and run. I am finding myself covering more distance in less time thanks to some of the practical advice and the philosophical ideas in the book. More importantly, I am enjoying it.
My only problem with the book is that it felt a little incomplete at times in regards to its presentation of studies. There didn’t seem to be much space for dissenting opinions, or even concurring opinions. However, it’s a book worth reading. 4.5 stars.