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Nonfiction: Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

17 Apr

AUTHOR: Christopher McDougall            DATE READ: March 17 -24, 2014
TITLE:book-born-to-run_300 Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

PUB. DATE: 2009
GENRE: Narrative Nonfiction (biography) PAGES: 287

APPEAL CHARACTERISTICS:
PACING: steady pace, engrossing, compelling
CHARACTERIZATIONS: detailed, interesting secondary characters
STORY LINE: plot centered, informative, inspiring
FRAME: detailed setting, fascinating, captivating, humorous

PLOT SUMMARY: An American author and runner Christopher McDougall travels to high mountains of Copper Canyon in Northern Mexico to discover how the Tarahumaras can be some of the best runners in the world. McDougall tries to understand how Tarahumara men (young and old), women, and children are able to run long distances without injuries and without gear that is used by Westerners. After learning about Tarahumara lifestyle, their culture, eating habits, and attitude towards running, McDougal realizes that this tribe does not want to compete and win, but they run because they have a true passion for the sport. McDougall also discovers that plain, natural diet such as (corn, chia seeds) provides a great amount of energy for them to run. Third, the author also believes that by running bared foot will not cause injuries in comparison with wearing running shoes such as Nike. The narrative ends with a race, in which the Westerners compete against the Tarahumara runners and it ends as a great celebration of the sport. Truly, it is a fascinating story, which inspires and convinces any runner or non-runner that everyone is born to run.

Geographical setting: Copper Canyons, Mexico
Time period: 2000’s
Series: n/a
Subject headings: Running races – Mexico – Copper Canyon Region
Tarahumara Indians – Mexico- Copper Canyon Region
Long-distance running – Mexico – Copper Canyon Region
True, Micah, -1953-2012.
McDougall, Christopher, -1962-.
Long distance runners – Mexico – Copper Canyon Region
Long distance runners – United States – Biography
Running – Mexico – Copper Canyon Region
Running and Jogging
Athletes – United States

SIMILAR AUTHORS: Dean Karnazes, Scott Jurek, Neal Bascomb, Adharanand Finn, Jack Daniels

OTHER REVIEWS:
“The book flows not like a race but like a scramble through an obstacle course. McDougall wends his way through the history and physiology of running, occasionally digressing into mini-profiles of top-tier racers and doctors, spinning off into tangents about legendary races like the Leadville Trail 100 Ultramarathon, while always looping back to the main narrative. Back on course, he describes his pursuit of the bashful, elusive Tarahumara and their secret to success on foot; his befriending of an eccentric gringo who became part of the tribe and is the key to McDougall’s communication with it; and the realization of the eccentric’s dream to pit big-name, corporate-sponsored American marathoners against the near-primeval Indians in a super ultra-marathon in the Copper Canyons. A race to end all races, in other words. A sprint to the finish between old and new.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/19/AR2009061901078.html
(Reviewed by Dan Zak, The Washington Post. June 21, 2009)
“A journalist’s adventures in a secluded Mexican community of the best endurance athletes in the world. McDougall uncovered the legend of the Tarahumara Indians, a tribe of astonishingly fit runners concealed deep within the Copper Canyons of Mexico…. McDougall’s background as a magazine writer is readily apparent—his prose is light and airy, informative without being pretentious. Most passages are short and engaging with extra doses of drama and exclamatory phrases thrown in to great effect. McDougall wisely grounds the narrative in his own struggle to engage in the concluding race—he was frustrated with his tendency to get injured—and he offers insightful sidebars on a variety of topics, from the development of the modern running shoe to an evolutionary argument that humans are literally “born to run.” A terrific ride, recommended for any athlete.”
https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/christopher-mcdougall/born-to-run/                                                     (Kirkus Reviews, May 7, 2009)


“Isolated by Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.”
(Amazon.com)

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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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