Born to Run is sold as a book about the greatest race the world has never known about. Or so that was the line that stuck with me as I opened it. Having finished it now, I have see myself as happily deceived. While the race itself tied together the thesis that humans are born to run, it was far from the most memorable element. The characters, the explorations into running philosophies and the science behind running along offer great reading. The fact it is told through the eyes of runners as capable as your everyday Joe and Jane to Scott Jurek provided a tantalising array of entry points for readers from all levels of running.
There are a lot of interesting threads that I think McDougall touched on in this account, but what cut-through above all else is how primal running comes across. I am more than likely biased given that I have recently gotten on the running hype-train, but it did reaffirm all my beliefs about running. I run for myself, not to race, not to beat certain times, but for the feeling of being alive hitting the pavement with my fellow man. Whether you run alone, or in a pair or a group, there is an undeniable sense of community with other runners that you feel. I found the Tarahumara and Scott Jurek especially inspirational in this regard. While they may represent the peak of the sport, the fact they are fuelled largely by a simple love for the movement and less on winning or personal bests is admirable.
The threads that I found interesting included:
- Barefoot Running
- The Running Man Theory of Evolution
- How Primal Running is to the Tarahumara
- The humble journeys of Scott Jurek and Jen Shelton
Highly Recommended. I would encourage this book for runners of all abilities – whether you run professionally or if the last time you ran was in P.E class at school.