Born to Run – Christopher McDougall

This little book about an obscure tribe of Mexican Indians and some mad-as American Ultra runners was one of my inspirational Christmas gifts from the lovely Mr Oh Waily.

As you may have noticed by now, running has become my preferred method of movement from Sedentary Mum to Active Mum.

The long form of running has always held a fascination for me, perhaps because it seems like such a dream to achieve distances like 42 kilometres in one running event.  Marathons have slowly become normal and are no longer seen as a mythical event only to be completed by the very best and fittest members of our society.  And that is what Born To Run really brought home to me.

It is part adventure story, part physiology essay, part anthropological study and most of all a positive affirmation that running is in fact our birthright and should not be the knee destroying, foot crusher that it often turns out to be.

The Tarahumara Indians of the Copper Canyons are interesting to read about, as is the physiological data that McDougall places throughout the book.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it all.  It offered an insight into the madness of the ultra runners and the hardiness of some of our kinsmen.

My one complaint about the book is McDougall’s writing style.  At least for the first third of the book it grated and grated and grated.  If you find reading my “write as I speak” use of slang and sayings difficult, then you too will find it hard to forgive this style of writing from a professional writer.  The saving grace is the sheer interest that the mad tale of a race between the best of the Tarahumara and a group of Ultra runners generates.  You find yourself wanting to know more about Caballo Blanco, you want to learn about the science behind barefoot running, you want to get to the race itself and find out what happens.

In the end I loved the tale and the information.  It did do the good work intended by Mr Oh Waily, it inspired me.  It made me realise that running is something I can do.  It is not foreign to me or difficult – I just need to take the time to adjust to moving myself that way again.  It has made me aware of the alternative running shoe options – light weight, less padded and sometimes barely a protective covering – that I might consider trying when my current pair of shoes finally give in.

If you are looking for inspiration to get out the door as a runner then I can highly recommend this.

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