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Pro barefoot running? Read: Born to Run by Christopher Mcdougall

Were you born to run? In his intrepid best-seller, Born to Run, Christopher McDougal interpolates his personal journey into the heart of Mexico’s Copper Canyons with an investigation of modern research on human biomechanics to bring us the answer. Interspersed with accounts from historic ultra-marathons and anecdotes from the evolutionary history and physiology of running, McDougal compels us to believe that the human body was, in fact, designed for long distance running. Prepare to be inspired.

As stimulating as it is engaging, Born to Run reveals a world of extreme running that resonates with every athlete’s addiction to the raw pain and ecstasy. Wrought with a cast of entertaining characters and a slew of adventures, Born to Run transports across the world with captivating imagery from Africa to Mexico to the most challenging courses of our country. With his riveting narrative style, McDougal evokes the desert sun and the mountain cold as he draws us into his quest to push the limits of the human body. As a skilled story teller, he bring the experiences of elite runners to life by distilling their feats down to the existential core of our humanity making us believe that we too are implicated in humanity’s running saga.

Besides simply telling the story of the Tarahumarra Indians, McDougal also makes an interesting case for barefoot running. In fact, he goes so far as to implicate the shoe industry, with its innovations and pronation correcting propaganda, in a multi-billion dollar conspiracy. What if injuries are an aberration, a deviation from the normal? Citing researchers and statistics McDougal calls us to think critically about what has changed since the advent of the running boom that has left a wake of broken-down gym junkies. From ancient Olympic triumphs to the modern advent of Kenyan champions, this book will have you wondering if you should ditch your Nikes and test out your bare-feet, at least for a few miles.

In short, despite a slight tendency towards idealization and dramatization, Born to Run is on par with some of the greatest running books ever written. Well-written, thought-provoking and energizing, this is a dynamic read that I highly recommend for runners and non-runners alike. But reader be warned: Aside from the irresistible urge to break for a run, this book is extremely difficult to put down.

-Tiffany (Runner and Nutrition major)