Quick Take: Born to Run Review

I’ve been running for about five years now. It was my first foray into fitness and exercise after being a mostly sedentary teen and college student. After my first 5k, I haven’t looked back since. 

Since integrating running into my life I have increasingly become interested in science and history of running. This is where Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Ever Seen by Christopher McDougall comes in. 

The book explores theories on the origins of running as well as exploring the reclusive Tarahumara tribe of Mexico. The author delves into these topics after experiencing injury after injury related to his running. Determined, he sets out on a solution to running related injuries that isn’t the typical “Just quit running”. If you remember the Vibram, minimal shoe trend, this book is sourced as one of the origins of this. 

This book takes a fascinating look at the Tarahumara tribe, following them through a series of races and an exploration of their culture and history. The book also looks at the origins of the endurance running hypothesis and how early man may have used running as a way to hunt. He also follows several ultra runners and their sometimes unconventional methods to becoming the best at their sport.

My only complaint about this book was that I went into it thinking it was going to be more of an exploration of the origins of running as an aspect of the human experience and the mechanics of running. Instead, I found it to be more about the author and his experiences with the Tarahumara as well as meeting and interacting with quirky and interesting runners. It seemed as though 75% of the book was focused on these topics instead of what I went into the book expecting. With that said, I found this novel to be a fascinating dive into the world of ultra running that, at the time it was published, was more of a secret society. 

All in all, I recommend this if you like non-fiction or running related books. It was a fun ride, but in my opinion, don’t expect too much science and background.