Born to Run: The hidden tribe, the ultra-runners, and the greatest race the world has never seen (Paperback)
  • Born to Run: The hidden tribe, the ultra-runners, and the greatest race the world has never seen (Paperback)

Born to Run: The hidden tribe, the ultra-runners, and the greatest race the world has never seen (Paperback)

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Paperback 304 Pages
Published: 15/04/2010
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Waterstones Says

Both a fascinating narrative about a tribe of phenomenal runners and a penetrating enquiry into the very nature of running itself, McDougall’s magnificent work is frequently revelatory. Synthesising social anthropology with sports science, Born to Run is a quite unforgettable read.

At the heart of Born to Run lies a mysterious tribe of Mexican Indians, the Tarahumara, who live quietly in canyons and are reputed to be the best distance runners in the world; in 1993, one of them, aged 57, came first in a prestigious 100-mile race wearing a toga and sandals.

A small group of the world's top ultra-runners (and the author) make the treacherous journey into the canyons to try to learn the tribe's secrets and then take them on over a course 50 miles long.

With incredible energy and smart observation, McDougall tells this story while asking what the secrets are to being an incredible runner. Travelling to labs at Harvard, Nike, and elsewhere, he comes across an incredible cast of characters, including the woman who recently broke the world record for 100 miles and for her encore ran a 2:50 marathon in a bikini, pausing to down a beer at the 20 mile mark.

Born to Run is a wonderful book. From anthropology to running shoe design, McDougall covers running in fascinating detail. Looking at it's use in hunter/gatherer societies right up to the modern money making machines of Nike et al.

At it's heart is McDougall's passion for running and determination to ignore medical advice which suggests he perhaps take up cycling instead. He dispenses with modern techniques, like orthotics, and finds his way to Mexico where he hopes to learn the secrets of the Tarahumara tribe who, for some reason, are phenomenal ultra runners. Very nearly perfect. It should be on everyone's bookshelf.

Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781861978776
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 236 g
Dimensions: 194 x 126 x 18 mm
Edition: Main


Amazing, really incredibly inspiring book - Joe Wicks

Quite simply the best book you'll ever read about running - it's brilliant, and brilliantly life-affirming. - Lloyd Bradley, author of The Rough Guide to Running

A classic ... in ultrarunners McDougall uncovers a tribe worthy of the pioneering drifters that fired the American spirit, and in McDougall ultrarunners have found their own Kerouac or Krakauer. - Tim Butcher, author of Blood River

Reaches the state of bliss that runners very occasionally experience in the midst of an endless run. - Simon Kuper, FT

Fascinating stuff, particularly for anyone who's ever been frustrated by the apparently shoddy mechanics of their own running body. - Victoria Moore, Daily Mail

A sensation ... a rollicking tale well told - Rick Broadbent, The Times

Part how-to manual, part scientific treatise but throughout a ripping yarn, this book will inspire everyone who reads it to think on their feet. - Simon Redfern, Independent on Sunday

If you're a runner, you probably won't reach the end of the first chapter without bolting for the door to get some miles behind you. - Leeds Guide

[A] major voice of a new movement. - Bernard Goldberg, HBO

Good books about running are rare - Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a meditative jog compared to this blistering endurance tester - but this ranks among the strongest. - Julian Fleming, Sunday Business Post

Utterly unputdownable ... a fascinating peek into the lives of the publicity-shy Tarahumara and the collection of misfits who populate the world of ultra-running ... the final race in Mexico's Copper Canyon will have you turning pages faster than Usain Bolt can run for a bus. - Natasha Young, Wanderlust

If you're a runner, you'll love it. It's about how far we can go spiritually and physically. - Kate Hudson, Actress, Elle

Inspiring stuff - Amy Lawrenson, Elle

I read Born to Run last year and it affected me profoundly. I thought, "F it. I'm gonna run a marathon." - Flea (of Red Hot Chili Peppers), Runner's World

Loved this book ... completely wonderful. It will inspire you whether you're already a runner or not. - Lauren Laverne, Twitter

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“One of the best books I have ever read, of any genre. Very nearly perfect!”

Born to Run is a wonderful book! It is difficult to do justice to all it offers in a short review but I will do my best. From anthropology to running shoe design McDougall covers running in fascinating detail.... More


very readable, if a little rambling in parts, much food for thought, highly recommended

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 78

“an absolue must have”

the most amazing book i've read.You don't need to be a runner to enjoy this book, it's a great story of the Tarahumara Tribespeople from the Copper Canyons and their amazing running for days on... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 78

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