Chris McDougall’s Born to Run

Born to Run by Chris McDougall

Born to Run by Chris McDougall

An extraordinary and compelling read, which has completely challenged my perception of running and the lifestyle it can offer. Not to mention the physical capacity of human beings! There are two main themes within ‘Born to Run’. One is a story about camaraderie, told through our introductions to Caballo Blanco, or the “White Horse” (an American expat living in the Mexican wilderness), the Tarahumura (natives of North Mexico who have profound love for running unbelievable distances in the inhospitable Copper Canyon) and some of North America’s best ultramarathon runners (i.e Scott Jurek). The other main theme of this book explores the notion that humans are ‘born to run’ – McDougall suggests our bodies have evolved for this very purpose.

This book is an inspiration. McDougall illustrates that we can not only run long distances in incredibly challenging environments, but that we can also have fun while we do it!  I’ve had an interest in sports for the best part of 20 years and completed both a Sports and Exercise Science degree and Masters in Physiotherapy. Despite my training, I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know it was physically possible for humans to perform such amazing feats of endurance as are presented in this book. Have you heard of the punishing Leadville 100 mile (!!!)  ultramarathon held every year in the Rockies? Or how about a race that pits humans against horses in a 50 mile (80 Kilometre!) race? I hadn’t either and was blown away. There are many other fascinating tales interwoven throughout the book that compel you to continue turning the pages.

Barefoot running is of course raised in ‘Born to Run’, and indeed it prompted me to research the concept and has helped facilitate the popularity of barefoot running. However readers should be aware that some of the scientific evidence presented on the topic may not be credible and that the theme of barefoot running is only a relatively small part of this wonderful book. Never the less the information presented is more than enough for me!

This book presents intriguing results of research from a myriad of scientific arenas, including anthropology, exercise physiology, physiotherapy and podiatry. This information is delivered with McDougall’s ‘everyman’  style and infectious enthusiasm, which leaves you convinced that we should all be out running (barefoot even) as much as possible.

You don’t need to have a background in health, science or running to appreciate this book – McDougall writes with ease and humour, making it accessible to everyone. And so I recommend you to read this book, if you haven’t already, and I challenge you not to feel compelled to go out and run!

Further Reading:
Chris McDougall’s Blog
Chris McDougall on The Daily Show
By Sam

BM in Sport and Exercise and BA in International studies (German Major) completed at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Master of Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney.

Interests: I am an exercise enthusiast full stop! I play or have played football, tennis, basketball and dabbled in waterpolo and underwater rugby! Recent sporting interests are cycling and barefoot running! I also love watching all codes of football/rugby.

Physiotherapy: Due to my interests in sport and health I am fascinated in human movement and physiology. In addition to musculoskelatal physiotherapy I’m also interested in neurological (stroke, brain injury and spinal cord injury rehab), and cardiopulmonary (heart and lung function and rehabilitation) physiotherapy:

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