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Extended Audio Sample Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen Audiobook, 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: May 2009 ISBN: 9780739383735
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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

  • 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
  • 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.
  • “It’s a great book…A really gripping read…Unbelievable story…A really phenomenal book.”

    Jon Stewart

  • 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
  • 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.”

    NPR

  • “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

  • “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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ali Crain | 1/19/2014

    " Very interesting. I enjoyed this very much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael E. | 1/8/2014

    " I have recently taken up running (at age 49), and this book was recommended by a co-worker. It is an interesting read, with lots of details, from lots of situations, and lots of characters. The book itself is written in an interesting style of telling a story, with lots of "rabbit trails" of sub stories along the way. Much of it is informative, and some of it is quite funny. My only critique of this book is that some of it drags on a bit too long, and by the end of the book, I was ready for it to end. I do like the thoughts provoked by the book, and the underlying thoughts behind the Terrahumara philosophy of running. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tara Amann | 1/8/2014

    " Felt like I should be able to run an ultra the while time I was reading this book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shriram | 12/29/2013

    " Very interesting facts on running. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike Plass | 12/26/2013

    " A lot of scientific information combined with the forming of the best of the best ultra marathoners made for a thrilling ride and how we as a society are doing it all wrong. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hannah | 12/17/2013

    " This book was uh may zing! It was a rambling tale well told, full of winding diversions that made every step richer. I could not stop talking about it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bert Forsythe | 11/13/2013

    " pinole and iskiate sales are up 900% "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jolie Masterson | 11/3/2013

    " Most motivating book ever intertwined with fascinating history, culture, and humor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joel | 11/1/2013

    " I've been running in zero drop "barefoot" shoes for years, so I really enjoyed the discussion on biomechanics of running, this history of the modern running shoe and stories of the top US and Mexican Indian ultra-distance runners. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda Moore | 10/15/2013

    " Fabulous!! An engaging tale of a bunch of lovable nuts, interspersed with interesting bits of scientific research. The only bad part about this book was having that d@!% Bruce Springsteen song stuck in my head the whole time I was reading it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dalia | 8/17/2013

    " It got me off my ass. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Francie Wirkus | 7/17/2013

    " Spectacular! I loved the characterization, the history and the races. Leadville 100 had me at the edge for many miles of indoor riding, as I read while I ride. I have used McDougall's quotes many times, as I find them so inspiring. Long live Caballo! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff Bare | 5/31/2013

    " Sometimes feels a bit over embellished, but overall really enjoyed it. Now it's time for a run... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Naeema Arbi | 5/28/2013

    " Read this while injured and Drs orders stated 'no running for 8 weeks!' I was enthralled by the book and all I wanted to do was throw away my trainers and join a tribe of barefoot runners! Very entertaining read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Anne | 12/27/2012

    " Kel loved it, I kept falling asleep. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rishi Mehta | 11/27/2012

    " Keeps me inspired to keep running and moving :). Great read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicholas Chew | 10/8/2012

    " very interesting...so convincing, so I'm wondering how does this generalize to the runners out there, giving benefit of doubt to the critics against barefoot/minimalist running "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lindsey | 6/12/2012

    " Fascinating!! More to this book than it first appears. I'd recommend it for anyone; it's very interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brad | 5/24/2012

    " A great book. Thought provoking with a backdrop of a story to bring you through the material, culminating with a satisfying ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike Macdonald | 5/5/2012

    " Great story of culture of running and people whom little is known about. I would reccommend this to any runner or endurance athlete. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 7/1/2011

    " Actually made me want to get out and run. Too bad its raining for the first time in months. Maybe I´ll read it again (or at least certain passages) in a few months. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kurt | 6/30/2011

    " A surprisingly enjoyable read. I would suggest this to any runner. It tells a great story about how certain groups of people can run ridiculous distances and claims that anyone can enjoy running. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Loyola University Chicago Libraries | 6/30/2011

    " Cudahy Popular Reading Collection

    GV1061.23 .M6 M33 2009
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 6/29/2011

    " Made me want to kick off my shoes and go for a run. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carri | 6/27/2011

    " I found this book intriguing and very interesting. It is about a culture of people who run and run and run. They are natural ultra endurance runners. For an inside look into another way of living and a great race take a chance on this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cory | 6/27/2011

    " On top of a great story this book is informative and will change the way you run. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zachary | 6/27/2011

    " i had to skip over some of the better parts "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Josh | 6/26/2011

    " I love reading on vaction and reading lots of books in one week. And I loved this book. Somehow, McDougall turns a book about running into a page turner. I enjoyed every second of it. And it made me want to run more. And it made me want to run differently. Highly recommended if you run at all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angie | 6/24/2011

    " Such a joy to read. Awesome. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Casey | 6/23/2011

    " Absolutely wonderful. McDougall is clever, earnest and fun to read. The characters are outstanding (and real!). I couldn't put it down. Literally. I read this in three sittings and carrying my iPhone around the house. I just couldn't stop. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 colleen | 6/23/2011

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It took me a couple chapters to get into it and then I was hooked. It was a great story of determination and effort. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sammcnair | 6/23/2011

    " Great book, very interesting and compelling "

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About the Author
Author Christopher McDougall

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.

About the Narrator

Fred Sanders, winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award, has received critics’ praise for his audio narrations that range from nonfiction and memoir to fiction and mystery and suspense.