I have to admit that I owe a lot to this book. It taught me a lot, made me think, and ultimately has changed my life dramatically. The most prevailing thoughts that this book provoked into my head were ones of a more simplistic outlook on things. The more it spoke about the Tarahumara runners and how they lived their lives, the way they ran and “trained” (airquoted only because it is hardly training to them, its simply a lifestyle that includes a lot of running as a means of transportation and entertainment) caused me to look into my live and my fitness regime. I my goals started to change from hitting a new pr lift or run, to running up this mountain, rock climbing in this national park. My eyes were opened from the narrow vision that we in the western world see our fitness as, and look at these experiences as once in a lifetime opportunities. We need to do what we can while we can, becuase no one knows what tomorrow will bring.
This novel also dives into a broad scheme of topics from the evolutionary progression of humans hunting techniques, to looking into the physiological attributes that we have vs other species to help answer the question “Were we born to run?” Christpher McDougal does a great job of bringing in a number of very interesting characters to the non-fictional storyline, which has been a major influence in the current minimalist movement we are in today. Before the release of this book, you wouldn’t have been able to walk into a sporting good store and find shoes with soles only mm thick, and there definitely wasn’t a multitude of companies offering their take on the Tarahumara’s famour running footwear, huarache sandals. The idea was planted, the research began to follow, and the popularity boomed.
In our 2013 season, we were able to experience things and meet people right out of this novel which made some of our adventures very surreal. Running the Born to Run Ultra marathon in California where we met Patrick Sweeney and Luis Escobar, travelling to Costa Rica to race La Ruta, allowed us to spend time with over a dozen Tarahumara runners, including Silvino Cubasare who was a character in the novel. On this trip we were even able to share our Xero Shoes with the Tarahumara, who in turn showed us how they tie their classic huarache sandals.
I can honestly say this book played a major part in why I run ultra marathons, and a huge part of why I run in my huarache sandals made by Xero Shoes. I would recommend this book to every runner or fitness enthusiast, and anyone else who’s willing to read this great novel with an open mind.
Very rarely do I read a book twice, however this one is on my list for its second time as I think I will have a more enlightened outlook and appreciation for the storyline than I did before.