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Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen [Paperback]

Christopher McDougall
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 29 2011 Vintage
An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?
Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

Frequently Bought Together

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen + Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness + Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself
Price For All Three: CDN$ 40.40

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Product Description


"A tale so mind-blowing as to be the stuff of legend." —The Denver Post

"McDougall's book reminded me of why I love to run." —Bill Rodgers, San Francisco Chronicle

"Fascinating. . . . Thrilling. . . . An operatic ode to the joys of running." —The Washington Post
“It’s a great book. . . . A really gripping read. . . .Unbelievable story . . . a really phenomenal book.” —Jon Stewart on The Daily Show

"One of the most entertaining running books ever." —Amby Burfoot,
“Equal parts quest, physiology treatise, and running history. . . . [McDougall] seeks to learn the secrets of the Tarahumara the old-fashioned way: He tracks them down. . . . The climactic race reads like a sprint. . . . It simply makes you want to run.” —Outside Magazine
“McDougall recounts his quest to understand near superhuman ultra-runners with adrenaline pumped writing, humor and a distinct voice...he never lets go from his impassioned mantra that humans were born to run.” —NPR
Born to Run is a fascinating and inspiring true adventure story, based on humans pushing themselves to the limits. It’s destined to become a classic.”–Sir Ranulph Fiennes, author of Mad, Bad and Dangerous To Know
“Equal parts hilarity, explanation and earnestness—whisks the reader along on a compelling dash to the end, and along the way captures the sheer joy that a brisk run brings.” —Science News
Born to Run is funny, insightful, captivating, and a great and beautiful discovery.” —Lynne Cox, author of Swimming to Antarctica
“A page-turner, taking the reader on an epic journey in search of the world’s greatest distance runners in an effort to uncover the secrets of their endurance.” —The Durango Herald
“Driven by an intense yet subtle curiosity, Christopher McDougall gamely treads across the continent to pierce the soul and science of long-distance running.”—Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers

About the Author

Christopher McDougall is a former war correspondent for the Associated Press and is now a contributing editor for Men’s Health. A three-time National Magazine Award finalist, he has written for Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Outside, Men’s Journal, and New York. He does his own running among the Amish farms around his home in rural Pennsylvania.

Christopher McDougall is available for select readings and lectures. To inquire about a possible appearance, please contact Random House Speakers Bureau at or visit

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Stories, Incomplete Analysis Aug. 13 2009
Without doubt, "Born to Run" is a book that will entertain you, teach you a thing or two that you didn't know before, and get you thinking about joining the next marathon near you. The book is divided into two parts: one part narrative on ultra-runners, the Tarahumara people, and the incredible long distance race you've never heard of; the second part is an anthropological and scientific analysis of human evolution.

There is no doubting McDougall's writing, he knows a good story when he sees one. The stories about Barefoot Ted, Jenn and Billy, descriptions of the Copper Canyon in Mexico, are all highly engaging. However, McDougall's exploration of the scientific part is incomplete at best. For every study and report that shows that barefoot running is better for you and that persistence hunting was the reason for modern human development, there are peer-reviewed academic studies and reports by scientists that refute the claims made in the book, none of which McDougall includes.

Overall, I found this a very interesting and quick read and I gather most readers will as well. My only caution is to take McDougall's claims with a grain of salt and to seek more complete information if the topic so interests you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read then run April 26 2012
I'm glad this book was recommended to me. There was a thrill and feeling of personal adventure that went along with reading about the feats of endurance undertaken with the ultra-distance races described. It made me want to run and although I think that I'll always plod along at short distances the book is an inspiration at keeping me out there pounding the pavement. Dream along with other readers and runners as the author delves deep into the mystique and history of distance running. Learn about shoes, injuries, and the personalities behind some of the greatest races ever performed. Even if you are not a runner you will probably find the book interesting and a page turner.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where do I learn the stride? June 11 2009
I heard the author of this book being interviewed on CBC radio and was so intrigued by what he was saying about proper stride and foot techniques vs. the new technology in current running shoe offerings, his studying the of the art by the masters in Mexico etc., that I had to order the book in, even though I am not a long distance runner.

The book was fantastic! Not only could I not stop reading it, I couldn't stop talking about it with friends, family and co-workers. I can't wait to study the stride now and get out running, because I now understand that I was Born to Run.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a fun read and got me really interested in the subject of barefooting which caused me to buy 2 other books. I now run barefoot and even walk around barefoot as much as possible now.

Way better posture and no more pain. I love running now like a game instead of a chore.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good quick read Nov. 18 2013
By Andrew
Born to run is a good easy read. I certainly got sucked in to it and read it in 2 days. I was mildly disappointed with the pause towards the end of the book just before the final race, some of these chapters could have been earlier in the book I felt. I know some ultra runners and I think the author captured their eccentricity quite well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For anyone that has 'wanted to want to run' this book is for you. I tried running off and on for years and injured myself almost every time out (shin splints mostly, with an impact fracture of my right leg that ended my experiments ten years ago). This book rekindled my desire to try again, with new data about what I was doing wrong (chunky running shoes, landing on my heels) and why. I've been going strong for months and I owe it all to this book.

Written in a very engaging style, Born to Run is a joy to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting theory on evolution of mankind June 28 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story was fun to read and the theory of how we evolved to be runners was very interesting. Got me motivated to get out running more as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Inspiration ever! May 9 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book sat on my bookshelf for about six months. I run 30+ miles per week and am very busy. I was recently sidelined by surgery, so I finally got around to reading it. Without hesitating for a second, I tell you that this book has inspired me like never before. It was an easy and thoughtful read, but it left me knowing that I was truly born to run, and run forever, but even more importantly, it made me want to be a better person!!! Way to go Chris!!!!!!!!!
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Still good reading
Liked it, didn't love it. Very different experience though and quite interesting, but it's hard to relate to it as a runner as it's so different...
Published 1 month ago by MR DAVID HACQUARD
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping me reading!
I'm so captivated by this book! I'm usually into more murder mystery books, but this one is just so good I can't put it down!
Published 1 month ago by Ashley Kuczynski
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting book about human spirit.
No need to be a runner or an athlete to thoroughly enjoy this book. Very educational, with anthropological musings. Read more
Published 1 month ago by JanOttawa
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! Very great read
Great read! Very great read!
Published 2 months ago by CoffeeLover
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My dad loves it!
Published 2 months ago by Julie Argall
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Très bon livre! Belle histoire, et bons commentaire éducatifs.
Published 2 months ago by Joannie
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for all running enthusiasts!
A very nicely written and inspirational book. In the age of fancy running gears and injuries, it is humbling to read about people who still run just for the fun of it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Panaromix
5.0 out of 5 stars very motivational!
Very motivational and inspiring. Well written, and easily captures and keeps you attention. Also quite informative with bio mechanical info and some interesting recipes. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
Read this book in one sitting, unable to put it down! Even if you have no interest in running, it is a well told story that is both captivating and informative. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Del
5.0 out of 5 stars A Running Adventure
I loved this book for its story and research. Christopher McDougall was one of the regular washed up run-for-health kind of people looking for a better way to run. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Douglas Setter
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