Sunday, April 3, 2011

Born to Run

I had passed by this book lots of times in the last 2 years because I thought it would be boring.  The long subtitle, the heavy anthropology overtones and the simple graphic design of the cover put me off.

Four days ago, I finally flipped open the cover at Costco and thought, "What the hell, I'll give it a try."  Boy was I surprised.

Christopher McDougall is an excellent storyteller! This book has all the ups and downs of the Leadville Trail 100.  There's the drama of his own story as a persistently injured runner who's looking for a way to experience distance running without ruining his body and the drama of the pursuit of the story, finding a lead in Caballo Blanco, plus 4 chapters devoted to the duel between Ann Trason and the Tarahumara in one Leadville 100 race, to the final showdown in Mexico.

McDougall covers a vast amount of relevant side territory intermittently ranging from the scientific research of paleontologists, anthropologist and biologists on free footed movement and the actual practice of persistence hunts in Africa to the on-the-spot construction of a pair of rubber tire tread sandals with a twine thong and the real background of the mysterious Caballo Blanco.

I not only highly recommend this book just for the pleasure of reading good writing but also for the development of running skill.  In fact, as a fellow runner who suffers from more overuse injuries than I like, I'm' going to put the Vibram Five Fingers that I bought last fall to use today.

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