Sunday, June 28, 2009

Born to Run

I can’t remember where I first heard of this book, but I never would have picked it up and paid full price if I hadn’t gotten a tip that it was good. But it wasn’t just good….

…it was amazing! It starts off with a 50-something guy who suffers from running injuries. He is told by multiple doctors that he was not built to run and needs to stop. This isn’t a option for him because he loves running and wants to complete an ultra-marathon (50-miles). He embarks on a journey to unlock the secrets of long-distance runners. Along the way he exposes the athletic-shoe industry and the marketing that duped us all into thinking we need ultra-padded, ultra-air/gel shoes to cushion this unnatural human activity…running. In reality, the human body was built for long distance running, most of us just go about it the wrong way. In fact, it may be our running prowess that gave us the evolutionary edge against the Neanderthals.

The author manages to transform himself into an injury-free distance runner with the help of a good coach, a new stride and an old, worn-out pair of shoes. The book climaxes with a secret 50-mile race through the Mexico mountains, pitting the greatest ultra-marathoner in the US against the greatest ones in the world, the Tarahumara Indians. While I can definitely guarantee that I’ll never run an ultra-marathon, I found this book to be inspirational to the human spirit and an excellent read, even if you aren’t an athlete…yet!

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