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Born to Run, a review

Born to Run
Christopher McDougall
Profile Books
978 1 86197 877 6

What a book, what a book, what a book! If you’re looking for a page turnerBorn to Run, written by Christopher McDougall, is the book you’re looking for. If you want to know if running is healthy, read it. Are you wondering if you should run on expensive shoes, or run barefoot, read it.

Are you looking to be entertained, read it. Born to Run is, at least for me, everything I’m looking for in a (trail) running book. It’s an adventure story, full of crazy characters, but it is an informative book at the same time. I read it in a couple of days, and I admit, I’m easily distracted and/or lose interest.

Run long distances

Born to Run tells you the personal story of Christopher McDougall and his struggle to run, or at least run longer distances. Like so many of us, he got the great advice of a specialist to stop running. In his case, dr. Joe Torg, who told him: ‘Running is your problem. … The human body is not designed for that kind of abuse.’

Luckily McDougall is smart enough to question his doctor, and other so-called experts. I mean, we are given feet by the divine, and we have roamed this earth for years on them. Then isn’t it strange we can’t run on them anymore?

Monkey feet

Well, according to Dr. Murray Weisenfeld, author of the book The Runners’ Repair Manual, we shouldn’t use our feet. This sport podiatrist claims that our feet aren’t made to walk on. They were fins first, to swim with, when we as humans were still a primordial fish. Later they evolved in some kind of claws, when we were monkeys, so we could hold on onto three branches, and that’s where the evolution of our feet stopped.

Sure the rest of our body evolved, but not our feet. Luckily we have podiatrists who can help us. In brief, the podiatrist Weisenfeld tells you that you really need to go to a podiatrist to be able to run. What was that thing again about following the money…?

'Running is your problem. The human body is not designed for that kind of abuse'

dr. Joe Torg

Mysterious runner

Born to Run is full of little stories and anecdotes like this, but mostly it’s the tale of McDougall and his search to stay healthy while running and the tale of Caballo Blanco (White Horse), the mysterious runner who has entered the world of the Tarahumara, the famous Mexican long distance runners. ‘When it comes to ultra-distances nothing can beat a Tarahumara runner – not a racehorse, not a cheetah, not an Olympic marathoner. … One explorer swore he saw a Tarahumara catch a deer with his bare hands, chasing the bounding animal until it finally dropped dead from exhaustion.’ 

Where both stories meet, is where the real adventure really starts. An epic long distance running adventure, that include big names like Scott Jurek, one of America’s all time greatest runners. But that’s a story you should read for yourself. ‘This is for real, Billy’, Jenn said. Tears began trickling down her face. ‘We’re going to die out here. We’re going to die today’.

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