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Born to Run

The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Written by: Christopher McDougall
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (59 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?

In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world's greatest distance runners and learn their secrets - and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.

Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence.

With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a 50-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder. With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons.

Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

©2009 Christopher McDougall (P)2012 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Hugely entertaining.... One of the most joyful and engaging books about running to appear for many years." ( Times)
"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)
A terrific ride, recommended for any athlete." ( Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Excellent Book

A great book to listen specifically while running! Interesting stories which keep you engaged and superlative performance by the narrator. The author has explained many running related things by waving them in interesting story telling way. This book is really good and worth your time irrespective of whether you love running or not. Also there's a good chance that this book can make you running enthusiastic.

1 person found this helpful

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And I started to run...

This mind blowing account of the history of running, or rather the history of human kind itself made me listen in astonishment. I am running, or kind of addicted to that now. A special thanks to 'Fred Sanders' for his wonderful story telling, the pauses, the little nuances, for filling his narration with passion and emotion. I could imagine running along side the Tarahumara, along side the great Scott Jurek..

1 person found this helpful

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Reason I run now

Like many people, I credit my running activity to this book. I went from running 1-2km to 10km every day. I finished a half-marathon and now enrolled for a full marathon. The story is great, and a lot of fun to listen to. Maybe there aren't a lot of tips for running, but if you want motivation then this is a great book.

1 person found this helpful

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amazing book on running!! inspirational

Very well written and read book. It really inspires you to want to go out and run

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Very Interesting

Interesting and informative book on running. You get to know so many different perspectives of Running. The way all the information shares is very unique in the form of story in story. Must Read Book.

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Changes the way you look at your feet.

It's a very interesting story, to begin with, even if you don't agree with the things McD is suggesting. When western medicine failed by eating money from corporates benefits, doctors started using these words like "Diabetes is a chronic disease with no CURE" and "If you are feet like this you cannot RUN". These statements challenge our gut feeling and push people to explore other ways. McD puts a great case here about human feet and running, even the book doesn't make you agree with him completely, it will make you feel ok to try different things. If you ever run in your life, you can give this book a try. Finally, the narration is up to mark as well.

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The running, the tribes, ultra and life philosophy

Diet, physique, bare foot, running shoes, All packaged superbly well in a great story line

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5 Stars

Simply brilliant. The narration by Fred is super. A must read for those who love running and for those who don't. Excellent.

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amazing story of human endurance

An amazing read for those looking for motivation on long distance running. the book also clears many misconceptions around running gear and barefoot running.

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  • Neil
  • 14-01-20

Completely changed my thoughts on running!

I recently watched Chris’ TED talk, “Are we born to run?”, and immediately got hooked on his masterful way of storytelling. “Born to Run” was an even better experience and made me completely reconsider the way I think about running. I love the combination of sport science, anthropology, storytelling, good humour and compassion. Narration by Fred Sanders is excellent and keeps you hooked throughout the book.

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  • Samantha Vosloo Harrison
  • 12-03-19

Inspirational!

This book kept me coming back for me and has changed me as an athlete. I would highly recommend it!

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  • maximilliano molina
  • 03-03-19

A must read for Runners

This is a must-read book for runners out there

Very interesting history and I'm sure you will get various insights out of this book.

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  • Jonas
  • 16-10-18

exceptional in every way

positively devoured this book. exceptionally written. amazing story. life changing revelations on what this body of mine can achieve.

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  • Vishisht Badri Vishal
  • 08-07-18

Must read!! Loved the story!!

The narrator has done a really good job and I loved how it inspires us to run and the entire story is very captivating to listen to! Learnt a lot from this book.

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  • Michael
  • 05-05-18

loved this book. great story and well told.

absolutely recommend this book - fantastic. it has heart, drama, soul and a beautiful message :)

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  • nikhil vij
  • 28-11-17

A romantic book for runners

great book. author tries to play role of a scientific researcher as well which - to a scientific mind - looks very half baked. but nonetheless the story is extremely interesting and keeps you hooked till end. if you are even slightly interested in long distance running, you will love this book.

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  • Chetan
  • 29-06-17

inspiring

loved it... want to run... if not as an ultra runner... atleast upto be a usual marthoner

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  • smita somane
  • 03-12-16

Superb anthropological run motivational!

excellent narration.Very live at a time philosophical.Real research work on running.Boon to marathoners!
Explained barefoot tradition so well.

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  • Kathryn
  • 12-07-15

A captivating story

Spellbinding. Brilliantly narrated. Extremely interesting links between evolution, psychology and running. I couldn't stop listening.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gilmonkey
  • 23-05-12

Born to Run

The most inspirational book I have read or listened to in a long time. Makes you want to stop everything and go for a run.

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ian
  • 20-07-12

Great story, well written and read

There's a lot going on here. It's a book about running that weaves a thrilling story of an adventure race in the Copper Canyons in Mexico, the culture, attitude and history of long distance running, the science behind endurance running, the mystery of a hidden culture of Mexican Indian runners and their unlikely US Ambassador and - most importantly - the author's journey into, and successfully out the other side of the world of adventure racing.
McDougal's skill is to make the characters larger than life, make his own story relevant and interesting and keep the narrative from getting to bogged down in history, science, statistics or geography.
It's an adventure story, a travelog, an inspirational tale, an informative journal and a very funny and memorable story. The narration is first class as well, keeping the wit dry and the pace just enough to keep your breath.

13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • MR
  • 04-07-12

A must-read

a great book for anyone interested in running or training for any run from a 10km to a marathon and beyond (and you will learn all about how far beyond people go!)

10 people found this helpful

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  • MsRanPan
  • 29-12-12

Loved it

What can I add, other reviewers knew of or knew the runners here. Comparatively I just read this book. It was interesting, engaging, educational, I really hope this guy did his homework and has really delivered us the truth and I have no reason to doubt this. Its a easy listen but educational, what more can a reader want!

6 people found this helpful

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  • OnceUponaTime
  • 15-12-12

A great exploration

I read this book because I wanted to improve my own running, I am fascinated by outlying tribes hidden from the world, and I love reading about seemingly super-human abilities.



Born To Run tells the history of the Tarahumara tribe of super runners in northern Mexico. They are a secretive people who routinely run marathons back to back, before getting wildly drunk, before waking up and doing it all over again. They run because they love it, and I have a feeling that an average Tarahumara man or woman could probably run further and faster than 30 average non-Tarahumara men or women running in relay.



There was nothing in the book about Tarahumara genetic insights, so I am next off to Google to see if anyone has figured out the Tarahumara superhero secrets. There was some mention throughout the book of the Tarahumara diet, and I just purchased some Chia seeds online. I'm very interested in seeing them turn water into gel. How odd.



Born to Run told a captivating story and was very entertaining, and is well worth reading. This book made me want to run more, burn my running shoes, and live in the woods.



"If you don't think you were born to run, you're not only denying history; you're denying who you are."



I also learned that the average human has a longer stride than a horse. The human is a more efficient running machine than a horse, so if both were engines filled with the same amount of fuel, the human would go further. We out-horse the horse!

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gareth
  • 14-08-12

A beautiful book, beautifully read

With the sad loss of Caballo Blanco earlier this year "Born to Run" now takes on an added poignancy.
For a book about a bunch of misfits running in the wilderness it is remarkably gripping and is so well written that I felt I knew all the characters. So much so that when I met, and ran with, Barefoot Ted I spoke to him as if he was an old friend I hadn't seen for years.
I will also add that it is worth buying just for the pronunciations.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sam
  • 25-12-12

Really enjoyable and inspiring listen

I found the book to be easy to listen to and found myself finishing it relatively quickly over a few drives on my way to work.



I do enjoy running but have never attempted a marathon and never even contemplated anything further! The author brings out the fun in running, exploring the motivations that drive people from various walks of life to regularly run distances that few of us "mortals" have ever attempted on foot.



The book inspired me to relax my running style a little and to try some lighter trainers (not quite "barefoot" but a lot less clunky than the normal structures running trainers I've gotten used to).

4 people found this helpful

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  • s c shanks
  • 21-07-19

The most over rated book ever

Had seen and heard lots about this book in Bio's of runners and articles so thought it would be an education. I got totally sick of hearing "The Tarahumara" over and over again I couldn't wait for it to end.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 25-10-14

Simply Inspiring!

What made the experience of listening to Born to Run the most enjoyable?

I was hooked and completed it in two days!

What about Fred Sanders’s performance did you like?

Fred Sander 's performance was calming and gentle! Christopher McDougall has really inspired me to make the transition to barefoot running!

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There were moments where I would catch myself laughing along.

Any additional comments?

Really worth the time! If you're interested in running this is the book for you! My next step.. To become an ultra-marathon runner!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anna66
  • 14-04-13

Makes you want to run

I just loved this book as after many years of feeling crippled with my ankle I dared to go running again. The narrator has captive and interesting style with a clear voice keeping the tension going throughout the book even when it gets a bit scientific!





4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Belinda A. Booth
  • 01-05-15

Interesting and v enjoyable

As a runner I found his investigations and findings fascinating, I even tried some of the techniques. Told very well so as not to become boring and an ending that had me on the edge of my seat. Very well narrated too.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sharon
  • 08-07-19

Totally fascinating, am hooked!

What a wonderful story, mesmerisingly vivid scenery, tales of courage and strength and a great insight into the history of running.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amy
  • 13-03-15

Loved it!

This book exceeded my expectations. Very informative and inspiring. Useful even as a total novice ;) I'll definitely read it again

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ankie
  • 10-02-20

For runners

This book will help you stay focused why we run so far... it definitely makes you more positive to keep running

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  • gaurav punetha
  • 31-01-20

Chuck all self help, this book is all you need!

no words to describe these stories. we tread the life so gingerly, always careful. but this book shows that life is supposed to be explored not outside but within.

amazing!!

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  • SamM
  • 28-01-20

How Joyful the simple pleasure of running can be!

An inspiring account of some unique characters in unpredictable circumstances. Very well written and inspiring. Great to listen to whilst exercising, very motivational.
A true insight into a refreshingly simple group of people, whose priorities in life are totally opposite to ours. Born to Run shared the joys that can be derived from family, support, and a passion they all shared for camaraderie and an unforgiving trail race they all had to conquer!, It will make you want join them in one hell of a run!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-01-20

Made me want to want run

I am not a runner, but that doesn't matter as it is a great story.

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  • Byron
  • 20-01-20

Inspiration

Inspiring read that got me back on the feet again running for health with a better idea on the sport and injury prevention

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-01-20

Well worth Listening to!

At first I was unsure as it was a story and not sure how it relates to running but as it went on I came to understand the backstory.
The text has left me with a better understanding of running.
I struggled to stop listening to the story and wanted to keep listening all the time.
The narrator, Fred Sanders does a impressive job of narrating the text.

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  • Jen1977ni
  • 23-11-19

So good, I’ll probably ‘read it’ again lol

Very informative, loved it! Would recommend for anyone whose serious about their running! Well narrated too!