Book Review: Born to Run

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
by Christopher McDougall
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN-13: 978-0307266309

This book is amazing. Seriously, go read it whether you run or not… it is just fascinating. It reads like fiction at times, it reads like an instructional manual and it reads like a pal just talking with you. It’s just really well done.

The main underlying focus of the book is the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico and their unbelievable skill when it comes to running. A simple question about “Why do I hurt?” lead the author to learn more about the tribe, the mechanics of the human body, through several researchers study and to participating in a 50-mile race with several awesome endurance athletes.

Barefoot Running:
The book talks about the ways modern running shoes have taken away a lot of the sensitivity and foot awareness that people have. It’s an interesting point of view and I really am starting to believe that a lot of people’s natural pronation is being suppressed. I’m not going to go out and run barefoot (and the book certainly doesn’t preach that) but it does illustrate some interesting points about the foot and the history of running.

Apparently the Tarahumara like to live it up and party the night before a race, drinking their own booze and still perform miraculously well. But it also touches on the native grains and a simple diet that doesn’t consist of a lot of meat and animal products to fuel them.

Love for the Sport:
The underlying element that I feel isn’t getting a lot of press is that overall, it is the joy and exuberance that people experience while running that truly makes them great. With the love and happiness comes the ease in motion, fluidity, grace and speed. Which to me meant that while there will still be hard times and even painful moments, if we can just let go of our pressures and expectations on ourselves that’s when we’ll truly be able to grow and develop as a runner.

There’s a reason this book is currently on the NY Times Bestseller list, the Amazon bestseller list. There’s a reason why the author is showing on up shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It’s just an exceptionally well-done book.


  1. I have this on my table right now- in the “when the semester reading is over” pile. I might make an exception though seeing this great review and sneak it in if I can!!!

  2. We visited with the Tarahumara ( they pronounce it sort of like “TaraMara” ) when we went to Copper Canyon last Jan. They were a very interesting group of people, still renown in the area for their running.

  3. This book has changed my life: I have started running! I love this book. I am almost finished reading it, and when I am done I think I will read it again!

  4. I’ve been hearing so many great things about this book, and I keep telling myself that I will check it out. After this review, though, I’m moving it to the front of the list–I will be picking this up immediately!! Thanks so much for the review! đŸ™‚

  5. You always write good, balanced reviews, Jill. Based on your recommendation, I am borrowing the book on Pam Reed – it’s coming to me now at my public library – can’t wait!

  6. Ordered the book yesterday after one of my dailymile buddies commented about Chapter 36 in Once A Runner (as we prep for our half tomorrow). Then I remembered your review here for Born To Run and realized I still hadn’t ordered it. Can’t wait to read it.

  7. […] Ian McCollum and Kevin Sherbourne. Interesting note: Ian actually learned about chia while reading Born to Run while stationed in Iraq. He thought that if chia worked to fuel the Tarahumara it could help him in […]

  8. Thanks Jill, it’s been a few years since I’ve read this book and enjoyed the recap that your review provided! It’s always interesting to remember little details you may not remember on your own!

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