I heard a lot about the book Born to Run which came out this summer. Some of what I heard made me skeptical about its claims. One of my biggest concerns was how so much emphasis was put on the evolutionary aspect of how we run. I believe we were designed by God to have the bodies we have and not that we have evolved into the state we are in. Guys like Steve Runner, who I totally disagree with his evolutionary position, made me less interested in the book because of this. However, the book is great. Outside of the fact that it is on a subject that captures my attention, it is extremely well written. Even though I don’t agree with all the process involved to arrive at the conclusion the book makes, I cannot deny that the author, Christopher McDougall, is a master with the written word.
The book is about running. It is presented by sharing a story involving an indigenous Mexican tribe in the Copper Canyon that is made up of extremely gifted athletes. The point was that we can learn their secrets and become better runners as well. The use of a great narrative made a potentially dull book about putting one foot in front of the other much more interesting.
I did not read the book, but rather listened to the audio-book version while I was driving around in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. I have to admit that I was very engrossed in the story. I did not have any close calls by not paying attention, but I did get wrapped up in it a couple of times enough to have to wipe the tears away when certain events were portrayed. Even though I already knew the outcome of some of the races that were described in the book, I was still on the edge of my seat waiting to hear how it would unfold.
My standard disclaimer has to be said here though. I cannot really recommend this book for young people. The language in it was appalling. As I have said before, I know people really talk like that, but that does not mean I want to read (or listen to) all the foul language.
Well written book, but I cannot give it a full recommendation because of the language.
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, 2009. Christopher McDougall, Knopf publishing. 304 pages.