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Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen Paperback – March 29, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 12,078 ratings

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  • Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
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  • Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide
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  • Running with Sherman: How a Rescue Donkey Inspired a Rag-tag Gang of Runners to Enter the Craziest Race in America
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Editorial Reviews


"A tale so mind-blowing as to be the stuff of legend." —The Denver Post

"McDougall's book reminded me of why I love to run." —Bill Rodgers,
San Francisco Chronicle

"Fascinating. . . . Thrilling. . . . An operatic ode to the joys of running." —
The Washington Post
“It’s a great book. . . . A really gripping read. . . .Unbelievable story . . . a really phenomenal book.” —Jon Stewart on
The Daily Show

"One of the most entertaining running books ever." —Amby Burfoot,
“Equal parts quest, physiology treatise, and running history. . . . [McDougall] seeks to learn the secrets of the Tarahumara the old-fashioned way: He tracks them down. . . . The climactic race reads like a sprint. . . . It simply makes you want to run.” —
Outside Magazine
“McDougall recounts his quest to understand near superhuman ultra-runners with adrenaline pumped writing, humor and a distinct voice...he never lets go from his impassioned mantra that humans were born to run.” —NPR
Born to Run is a fascinating and inspiring true adventure story, based on humans pushing themselves to the limits. It’s destined to become a classic.”–Sir Ranulph Fiennes, author of Mad, Bad and Dangerous To Know
“Equal parts hilarity, explanation and earnestness—whisks the reader along on a compelling dash to the end, and along the way captures the sheer joy that a brisk run brings.” —
Science News
Born to Run is funny, insightful, captivating, and a great and beautiful discovery.” —Lynne Cox, author of Swimming to Antarctica
“A page-turner, taking the reader on an epic journey in search of the world’s greatest distance runners in an effort to uncover the secrets of their endurance.”
—The Durango Herald
“Driven by an intense yet subtle curiosity, Christopher McDougall gamely treads across the continent to pierce the soul and science of long-distance running.”—Hampton Sides, author of
Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers

About the Author

CHRISTOPHER McDOUGALL is the author of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen and Natural Born Heroes: Mastering the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance.  He began his career as an overseas correspondent for the Associated Press, covering wars in Rwanda and Angola. He now lives and writes (and runs, swims, climbs, and bear-crawls) among the Amish farms around his home in rural Pennsylvania.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group; Reprint edition (March 29, 2011)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0307279189
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0307279187
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 1040L
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.14 x 0.93 x 7.94 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 12,078 ratings

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Trained as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, Christopher McDougall covered wars in Rwanda and Angola before writing his international bestseller, "Born to Run." His fascination with the limits of human potential led him to his next book, "Natural Born Heroes." McDougall also created the Outside magazine web series, "Art of the Hero."

Born to Run is currently being made into a feature film starring Matthew McConaughey.

You can find more information about Christopher McDougall on his website:

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
12,078 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 30, 2010
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 24, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book positively helped make my life permanently better!
By Grant R on September 23, 2019
Although I'm not an avid runner by any means, nor have I really ever been, I found this book to be a great read. It's an engrossing, entertaining, and well written story about the author's boldly persistent adventures during an unwavering quest for elusive answers to perplexing questions.
And, as any great read might do it allowed me to feel connected, however remotely, to interesting peoples; and exotic places I probably wouldn't've ever been able to imagine existed no matter how many more years I might live.
More importantly, to me personally; it was what made me aware of: the existence and potential benefits of minimalist footwear; and, the absurdity of the school of thought that would have us believe nature's evolutionary design success with the human foot can be vastly improved by a plethora of modern footwear gimmickry. And lastly, how transitioning back to nature's time-tested, time-proven way (barefoot) might actually reset one's ambulatory infrastructure to where it's meant to be in the first place — the place it took a significant long two million years or so to leisurely perfect on its own.
In fact: the wealth of somewhat esoteric information in this book proved to be an unparalleled revelation which provided me with fresh insights fundamental to my particular set of circumstances at that time.
The key reason being; that although I've never actually suffered from plantar fasciitis or related knee injuries; as a teenager I was thrown off a galloping horse that stopped abruptly, and I landed on a fallen tree in a mountain wilderness area; sustaining multiple, grievous internal injuries due to the ensuing trauma. One of the worst, besides being diagnosed with hypogycemia and hypoadrenocorticism [aka secondary adrenal insufficiency], was a herniated lumbar disc which I've painfully had to deal with for most of my adult life. Walking, running, and sometimes even just standing at some kind of work-station or another has at times caused me severe and disabling lumbar spasms.
The point is, after reading about the Tarahumara and the running-shoe industry; I decided to purchase a pair of zero-drop shoes (aka foot-gloves) and soon started the transition period. Walking for an hour or so each day to start with and slowly increasing the time as quickly as I deemed prudent.
After about three months I was up to ten miles a day (on a good day) and felt the physical transition to be mostly complete at that time.
It was then I tossed my expensive running shoes into the trash; along with my very expensive shoe orthotic inserts; and have never looked back. It's been about six years now since my last visit to an Osteopath or Chiropractor (yeah, for real!).
Astonishingly, other than some recent lower back pain from sleeping on a soft, worn-out mattress my bad disc has mostly been behaving its otherwise typically fickle-self for almost every day of those six years.
Nor am I flatfooted by any means either! My arches have remained as healthily high, and every bit as strong (probably much stronger) as they ever were, and this without any arch-support whatsoever thank you very much.
Neither am I otherwise suffering from any other sort of chronic foot/knee pain, even though I frequently walk for miles at a time (love walking now more than ever); and even jog a bit on occasion.
And although I still prefer my bicycle for serious "endorphin hunting" (the only thing I've ever been hopelessly addicted to in my entire life); walking/jogging now feel decidedly better than they did with typical athletic-type shoes before transitioning. Indeed, this totally sordid business of genuinely needing arch-supports in modern shoes seems like an enormously cruel joke to me now. To be clear: the irony here being that apparently, the exact reasons I perceived requiring their dubious benefits in the first place; were primarily due to the fact (lumbar disc issues aside) that the footwear I've been beguiled into enduring most of my life was indeed the biggest, most pernicious joke of all!

To conclude: after delving into Christopher McDougall's Born to Run for the second time this decade, one of my takeaways is that; it's not just a book for runners, elite or otherwise. It's also an entertaining book for the open-minded everyman with an adventurous spirit.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on October 29, 2020
24 people found this helpful
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A.S. Pants
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst written books I've read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 10, 2021
13 people found this helpful
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Mr. N. Curran
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on April 2, 2019
22 people found this helpful
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Jack a Roe
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for runners and non-runners alike
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 21, 2017
22 people found this helpful
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Andrew P
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring stuff
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 4, 2018
10 people found this helpful
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