9780307266309

Born to Run

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780307266309

  • ISBN10:

    0307266303

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 5/5/2009
  • Publisher: Knopf

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  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.
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Summary

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 ultramarathoner, 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 ultrarunners 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.

Author Biography

Christopher McDougall is currently a contributing editor for Men’s Health and a writer-at-large for Runner’s World. He has written for Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Outside, Men’s Journal, and New York. He lives in Pennsylvania and is an obsessed ultramarathoner.

Excerpts

To live with ghosts requires solitude.
—Anne Michaels,Fugitive Pieces


FOR DAYS, I’d been searching Mexico’s Sierra Madre for the phantom known asCaballo Blanco—the White Horse. I’d finally arrived at the end of the trail, in the last place I expected to find him—not deep in the wilderness he was said to haunt, but in the dim lobby of an old hotel on the edge of a dusty desert town. “Sí, El Caballo está,” the desk clerk said, nodding. Yes, the Horse is here.

“For real?” After hearing that I’djustmissed him so many times, in so many bizarre locations, I’d begun to suspect that Caballo Blanco was nothing more than a fairy tale, a local Loch Nessmons - truodreamed up to spook the kids and fool gullible gringos.

“He’s always back by five,” the clerk added. “It’s like a ritual.” I didn’t know whether to hug her in relief or high- five her in triumph. I checked my watch. That meant I’d actually lay eyes on the ghost in less than . . . hang on.

“But it’s already after six.”

The clerk shrugged. “Maybe he’s gone away.”

I sagged into an ancient sofa. I was filthy, famished, and defeated. I was exhausted, and so were my leads.

Some said Caballo Blanco was a fugitive; others heard he was a boxer who’d run off to punish himself after beating a man to death in the ring. No one knew his name, or age, or where he was from. He was like some Old West gunslinger whose only traces were tall tales
and a whiff of cigarillo smoke. Descriptions and sightings were all over the map; villagers who lived impossible distances apart swore they’d seen him traveling on foot on the same day, and described him on a scale that swung wildly from “funny andsimpático” to “freaky
and gigantic.”

But in all versions of the Caballo Blanco legend, certain basic details were always the same: He’d come to Mexico years ago and trekked deep into the wild, impenetrable Barrancas del Cobre—the Copper Canyons—to live among the Tarahumara, a near- mythical tribe of Stone Age superathletes. The Tarahumara (pronounced Spanish- style by swallowing the “h”: Tara- oo- mara) may be the healthiest and most serene people on earth, and the greatest runners of all time.

When it comes to ultradistances, nothing can beat a Tarahumara runner—not a racehorse, not a cheetah, not an Olympic marathoner.
Very few outsiders have ever seen the Tarahumara in action, but amazing stories of their superhuman toughness and tranquillity have drifted out of the canyons for centuries. One explorer swore he saw a Tarahumara catch a deer with his bare hands, chasing the bounding animal until it finally dropped dead from exhaustion, “its hoofs falling off.” Another adventurer spent ten hours climbing up and
over a Copper Canyon mountain by mule; a Tarahumara runner made the same trip in ninety minutes.

“Try this,” a Tarahumara woman once told an exhausted explorer who’d collapsed at the base of a mountain. She handed him a gourd full of a murky liquid. He swallowed a few gulps, and was amazed to feel new energy pulsing in his veins. He got to his feet and scaled the peak like an overcaffeinated Sherpa. The Tarahumara, the explorer would later report, also guarded the recipe to a special energy food
that leaves them trim, powerful, and unstoppable: a few mouthfuls packed enough nutritional punch to let them run all day without rest.

But whatever secrets the Tarahumara are hiding, they’ve hidden them well. To this day, the Tarahumara live in the side of cliffs higher than a hawk’s nest in a land few have ever seen. The Barrancas are a lost world in the most remote wilderness in North America,

Excerpted from Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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