“Born To Run” by Chris McDougall isn’t the sort of book I’d normally read. I have been a runner for years, though always casual about it. I’ve entered some races, but have usually been more interested in finishing than actually competing. Heck, I’ve even organized races – the Riverwest Urban Trail Run a few years ago, and the Riverwest Plus this past summer. Still, for all that, I’ve never been a passionate runner, just a regular runner. So when Kyle Roberts, a running coach and minimalist-shoe advocate, very nearly pushed this book in my hands I was hesitant. I read comics and fiction – not running-form books. Boy, I don’t think I’ve been surprised at my own enjoyment over a book the way I was surprised by “Born To Run.”
What made “Born To Run” so engaging, I think, is that it wasn’t merely a “let’s talk about running” book. It was many stories all threaded together – about the human body, evolution, runaway boxing stars-turned-canyon-runners, chronic running injuries, the crazies who run ultra marathons, the legendary Tarahumara indians of Mexico, an incredible foot-race, and one man’s attempt to become a fit, injury-free long-distance runner. So, I think the first-person perspective of this book is really what hooked me. I “was there” with Chris as he ran and as he talked with the various people in the book. I felt his pain and frustration, excitement and elation. Too, his descriptions of the runners along on this adventure were so good that I felt like I was friends with them all. It was a fun book; I was sorry when it ended – I wanted it to keep going on. I can’t think of the last time I felt that way about a book! This book, every time I picked it up, made me want to get out and hit the trails for a few miles. Really, if you dig running, or just great adventures tales, in general, check this book out – you won’t regret it!