A personal initiative to live more appreciatively

Thursday, April 5, 2012

#129: Born to Run

In light of the passing of Micah True I decided to reread Born to Run. Author Christopher McDougall's previous work had a common theme: endurance. As a war correspondent and sports journalist, McDougall witnessed men and women in the throes of feats of greatness, and yet had a nagging Achilles' heel (pun intended) of his own perpetually on his mind: why did his foot hurt?

McDougall proclaimed himself "unbreakable" throughout his career: paricipating in the semi-extreme sports he was covering, surviving in three war zones and a stint in the African badlands. And yet training for a marathon left him beaten and broken. It didn't add up-- and McDougall began investigating the secrets to ultramarathoners who could run insane distances without injury. This investigation leads him to the Tarahumaras-- the Running People-- a tribe of Mexican Indians who run far, fast and injury-free, and Micah True, more intimately known as Caballo Blanco, the American ultrarunner who followed them into the Copper Canyons to run and live amongst them.  McDougall's work reads as fiction, introducing these seemingly larger-than-life athletes, and weaving the science and philosophy of running within a narrative. It's a story of trial and triumph, pursuit and passion, running and redemption.

I am so thankful for this book. It glorifies running, and reiterates how lucky I am to be a part of this sport. It's inspired me with its message, about both running and life at large. The best books are the ones that make us look within ourselves for univeral truths, reminds us of our values, motivate and change us at our core-- and Born to Run does just that. I recommend it to anyone and everyone-- runner or not-- as a testament of what it is we are capable, and what it is we are living for.

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