Monday, April 5, 2010

Book Review - Born To Run

I must be the last person in the running community to read Born To Run. I’ve had the book for months but never took the time to sit down and read it. My recent vacation to Cabo San Lucas gave me the opportunity to relax and crack open the book while sitting on the beach with a view of the Sea of Cortez. Since everyone else has probably already read this, I won’t do a full blown review. I’ll just say it’s a must read for runners, especially trail/ultra runners.

Here are some of my thoughts/observations:

Caballo Blanco has lived a very interesting life. He should write a book.

The Tarahumara eat like gerbils and drink like sailors on shore leave but can run like they’ve taken every performance enhancing drug ever invented. I’m thinking of making a life style change.

Rick Fisher is a total A-hole. Nuff said.

How come I never heard of that group that runs naked and has sex parties in the woods? Are they accepting new members?

Executives of running shoe companies are unethical. They claim their shoes will prevent injuries when they have clear evidence to the contrary. The more expensive the shoe, the more likely you'll get injured!

You can’t escape the drug trade even in the remoteness of the Copper Canyon. Having Mexican politicians and military on the drug cartel’s payroll guarantees this will not change.

Scott Jurek is likely the only elite runner in the world that waits at the finish line for the last runner in the race to come in. In a 100 mile race, that’s a long time waiting. How awesome is that?

In the spirit of the Tarahumara Indians, I plan to make my own unsupported ultra run in a remote wilderness location this summer. More on that in a future post.


  1. Don't feel bad Dan, I haven't read the book yet. It has been on my "want to read" list for quite some time now. I actually thought I would get the book and have time to read through the winter...problem is, I never got the book.

  2. Dan, I just got a copy of the book from my local library....I was 6th in the reserve cue! Started it last night. ;-)

  3. I was mesmerized by the book. In fact, I think I need to read it again bc I devoured it and not savored it enough! Not sure where I am in the barefoot running debate (I mean, the Tarahumara are still wearing sandals). I can tell you that I have been running in Nike Free's and they are amazing. They make uphill running much easier, bc you can literally run on your toes and don't have a big heel weighing you back.

  4. Dan, When you make your remote wilderness trail run this summer, let me know so I can be out of town. The thought of you (or me for that matter) running naked through the woods communing with God knows what out there - well makes me yak (not a yak, but the toss my cookies, real-time streaming, ralph-like yak) :-)

  5. I feel like I was on the other side here, as I believe I was one of the first to read the book, when it was impossible to find anywhere. The debate is still open for me on barefooting. I will post soon on my big barefoot experiment, as I have had quite a bit of 'data' logged since getting the Vibrams. I have a love/hate relationship with the book because there are some important messages that McDougall has been able to broadcast via the book, but there are other theories he throws out there, mostly in the later chapters of the book, that just don't fly for me. One being that it is okay to barefoot in the winter time because the feet can handle freezing temperatures.

    I think the book is revolutionary, and will be at least a contemporary component piece to a running movement, much like Dr. Jim Fixx's book back in the early 1980's and I wonder if barefooting/minimalist running will be just a passing fad.

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  7. Diesel, you have me laughing my a** off here! Don't you worry though. It's not going to be that kind of run......this time. ;-)

  8. Rob, although I haven't tried it myself, I think the whole barefoot running thing is being overplayed. You can't go from a lifetime of shoe wearing to barefoot without expecting to create some other problems. I think the transistion has to be very gradual and you have to monitor your body's response to the switch very carefully. On the other hand, I do feel there are positive benefits to wearing a minimalist type shoe like the one Inov-8 makes. Less is best but only to a point.

  9. The Pineland Challenge has a barefoot/ or Vibrum 5 fingers race this year...should be interesting to see how many enter. I have tried barefoot on the beach and found it really bothered my archilles. Like you said though....moderation and work your way into it slow to unlearn the shoes

  10. I agree, to run like the Tarahumara Indians all you need to do is eat mostly carbs, never train, drink, smoke, and avoid contact with the opposite sex the night before a run. I can do that!


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