Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Review: Born to Run

Spotted this at the library in audio book form, and remembered that a couple friends had recommended it to me.

Born to Run is a story of a crazy gringo ex-prize-fighter known as Caballo Blanco (White Horse) living in the Copper Canyons in northern Mexico with the Tarahumara indians, and his plan to put on a deadly long-distance race with some of the worlds most hard-core long-distance runners.

In seeking out the recluse, the author becomes wrapped up in the plan and trains to run the race himself, as he seeks out advice from the gurus of barefoot running in an effort to deal with his own injuries.

The book introduces us to a cast of really interesting characters and the competitive world of long-distance running. It eventually culminates in the story of the race itself, by which time I was rooting for every one of the characters - a good sign he'd told the story pretty well.

The "science" the book attempts to tell about barefoot running and it's evolutionary superiority, the harm that shoes do, etc, is similar to the whole Paleo diet thing - a compelling narrative, but I'm not sure how well backed it is by science. Still, it's got me thinking about it. I may do further research on it. I don't consider this book that research, but a compelling story that at least presents one side of the argument.

Born to Run

4 comments:

Andy said...

As a an authority on the subject I can put this in context; the dudes who grew up running barefoot in Kenya and Ethiopia running low 4's in the mile in their early teens and go pro....prefer shoes. But I do enjoy the comedy of yuppies pondering whether a lifetime of wearing shoes has made us soft. I have heard from returning afghan vets that the Taliban guys walk around at 16000 ft in shower sandals, but I haven't seen REI introduce that yet in their high altitude climbing section.

Kim Pallister said...

Ya, add that to the rest of the paleo-mythology that is very de rigeur these days.

That said, I still found the book entertaining.

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