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Download Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (41,451 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Christopher McDougall Narrator: Fred Sanders Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The Tarahumara Indians are, quite literally, Born to Run. Living in isolation in Mexico's treacherous Copper Canyons, the Tarahumara tribe has discovered secrets which enable them to run for hundreds of miles without stopping to rest. As they travel these incredible distances, they are able to maintain high levels of speed, without being subject to the injuries which seem to so easily plague most American runners. Through studying the habits of the members of this tribe, Christopher McDougall has made discoveries which may reveal the secret to their endurance, and that secret flies in the face of everything modern science has told us about how to prevent running-related injuries.

McDougall advances a hypothesis in regard to human evolution called the endurance running hypothesis. This is the idea that humans were able to transition from the forests to the savannas by developing the ability to literally run down their prey by means of being able to go faster and longer than the animals they were hunting. He blames human attempts to improve upon our inherited ability with things like cushioned running shoes, pointing out that the Tarahumara wear only flat sandals. Anecdotal evidence (McDougall claims to have reduced his own injuries by copying the methods of the Tarahumara) coupled with scientific research, bear out McDougall's industry-defying claims, all shared in a quirky and clever way which is sure to keep you engaged.

Christopher McDougall is an American author and journalist, who found critical acclaim in 2009 with Born to Run. A graduate of Harvard, McDougall spent several years working for the Associated Press as a foreign correspondent, covering civil wars in Rwanda and Angola. A film based on the bestselling Born to Run is currently in production.

Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.

Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultra-marathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.

With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech 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 the climactic race in the Copper Canyons. Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Compelling. . . . Entertaining. . . . [McDougall] uses an extended portrait of one of the world's least known cultures, the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico's Copper Canyons, to put modern American running under an exacting magnifying glass. San Francisco Chronicle
  • 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
  • “Hugely entertaining. . . . One of the most joyful and engaging books about running to appear for many years. The Irish Times.

    “An enthralling story. . . . McDougall’s background as a magazine writer is readily apparent–his prose is light and airy, informative without being pretentious. Most passages are short and engaging with extra doses of drama and exclamatory phrases thrown in to great effect. McDougall wisely grounds the narrative in his own struggle to engage in the concluding race–he was frustrated with his tendency to get injured–and he offers insightful sidebars on a variety of topics, from the development of the modern running shoe to an evolutionary argument that humans are literally born to run. . . . A terrific ride, recommended for any athlete.
  • A wildly fascinating story, perfectly told. Born to Run is an instant classic. Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code
  • Born to Run is hilariously funny, weird, and nonstop fun to read. Runners can sink their teeth into it. Bill Rodgers, Four time winner of the Boston Marathon
  • Driven by an intense yet subtle curiosity, Christopher McDougall gamely treads across the continent to pierce the soul and science of long-distance running. McDougall's ambitious search leads him deep into the ragged folds of Mexico's Copper Canyon, where he somehow manages the impossible: He plumbs the mystic secrets of the fleet-footed Tarahumara Indians while never losing his deep enchantment for the majesty of their culture. Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers
  • Christopher McDougall writes like a world-class ultramarathoner, with so much ease and heart and gusto that I couldn't stop reading this thrilling, fascinating book. As soon as I finished, all I wanted to do was head out for a run. Benjamin Wallace, author of The Billionaire’s Vinegar
  • “It’s a great book…A really gripping read…Unbelievable story…A really phenomenal book.”

    Jon Stewart

  • I love Christopher McDougall's Born To Run! The book is wonderful. It's funny, insightful, captivating, and a great and beautiful discovery. There are lessons here that translate to realms beyond running. The book inspires anyone who those seeks to live more fully or to run faster. Lynne Cox, author of Swimming to Antarctica
  • Galloping along through a multi-faceted landscape that is by turns exhilarating, funny and weirdly absorbing, Born to Run is a breathless read, but sheer endorphinous pleasure. John Gimlette, author of Panther Soup
  • Quite simply the best book you’ll ever read about running. . . . Brilliant, and brilliantly life-affirming. Lloyd Bradley, author of The Rough Guide to Running
  • Born to Run is a fascinating and inspiring true adventure story, based on humans pushing themselves to the limits. A brilliantly written account of extraordinary endurance, far from home–that also explains how anyone can run better–it’s destined to become a classic. Sir Ranulph Fiennes, author of Mad, Bad and Dangerous To Know
  • “The scenario is a writer’s dream. McDougall found a large cast of crazy characters, an exotic setting for drama and discovery, and a tailor-made showdown with which to cap the book. By and large it’s a thrilling read, even for someone who couldn’t care less about proper stride and split times and energy gels. McDougall’s prose…is engaging and buddy-buddy, as if he’s an enthusiastic friend tripping over himself to tell a great story.”

    Washington Post

  • “McDougall’s book reminded me of why I love to run.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “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.”


  • “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.”


  • “A tale so mind-blowing as to be the stuff of legend.”

    Denver Post

  • “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

  • “McDougall wisely grounds the narrative in his own struggle to engage in the concluding race—he was frustrated with his tendency to get injured—and he offers insightful sidebars on a variety of topics, from the development of the modern running shoe to an evolutionary argument that humans are literally ‘born to run.’ A terrific ride.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • An ALA Notable Book in 2009 for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by John Julitz | 2/15/2014

    " Like (seemingly) everyone else in the world, I read this & was inspired to run, open my mind to other possibilities & be more concerned with making this a better place to live. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Diana K | 2/13/2014

    " Really intriguing to learn about the Tarahumara, and the persistent hunt that is deep within our genes. Easy, fast read. Especially recommended for runners, sports extremists, and anyone interested in biology/history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jaimy Chadam | 2/8/2014

    " This is a special book. You can hate running and still enjoy this. And if you are a runner, you will love it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Tonia | 2/5/2014

    " Running is not something that I like doing unless I have a basketball, am running bases, or playing some sort of sport. Having started running in the Running Room clinics a friend lent me this read. After devouring this interesting novel about a tribe of people who run as their more used form of transportation, the Tarahumara, several well known American runners organize a race down in the Copper Canyons of Mexico. A fantastic read that will make you think you too can run for miles and miles. While I continue to plod along, I shall allow this read to motivate me as I learn to run for the sake of my body and its abilities. "

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