Born to Run: A Great Story That Will Make You a Better Runner

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

“If you don’t think you were born to run you’re not only denying history. You’re denying who you are. “

Christopher McDougall, Born to Run

I just read Born to Run. It’s almost impossible to not get swept into the story of Born to Run. Christopher McDougall is a master storyteller. He purposefully blends a story about some of the best distance runners in the world with his own problems he has faced while running and getting injured. He mixes in some science, deadbeat outcasts, ancient tribes, and history to further his point that humans were born to run.

This was my second time reading Born to Run and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I am running my second marathon in a few weeks and I am logging a lot of miles each week. I live in Phoenix, Arizona and I’m training during the brutal summer. My long runs were becoming a struggle and I found it hard to stay motivated. I reread Born to Run and it immediately helped me to fall in love with running again. The book teaches that running should come naturally and free. It sounds silly writing this, but I really felt my running form became more natural and relaxed while I was reading this book.


Caballo Blanco

Micah True AKA as Caballo Blanco is the most interesting person I’ve ever read about. He is portrayed in the book as a huge mystery and his sanity is constantly questioned in the book. I watched this YouTube video of him doing a Q&A and he seemed a lot more composed than I would have imagined. Caballo Blanco left the materialistic world to live among the Rarámuri people in the Copper Canyons of Mexico.

There’s a part of me that wishes I could live a simple life like Caballo Blanco. Filling my days with long runs through a beautiful landscape like the Copper Canyons.

The Science

There are many skeptics about the scientific conclusions in Born to Run. But I don’t think this book should be judged solely on its scientific merits. The book puts forth a few theories about how scientists are starting to believe that the human body is designed to run. Instead of speed, humans are put together in a way that allows for distance and endurance. The most interesting being persistence hunting. Seriously, go read about it! This is a good video by the author that talks about some of the scientific points of Born to Run

The Apaches

I am a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe and the Apaches (and their running history) are mentioned many times throughout the book. I really connected with this. There are numerous accounts of adult Apaches running 70 miles a day for days at a time. I found motivation learning that my ancestors could run long distances through this same Arizona desert. If you have any sources about Apache’s running history please comment below.

Even though I fully embrace Born to Run as one of my favorite books I am not ready to turn in my running shoes for barefoot running. However, I can say I am a better runner because of this book and I love running more. If you are in the middle of a grueling training plan or are thinking about starting to run, then you need to read this book. You can grab a copy here.

Did you like this book? If not, let me know below what you didn’t like about it.

Other Great Running Books

If you liked Born to Run and are looking for more. Check out these books that I loved:

  • Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness. This book is written by Scott Jurek, who stars in Born to Run. He talks about his life and how he broke into the ultramarathon world. He also shares his favorite vegan recipes which complement running.
  • North: Finding My Way While Running The Appalachian Trail. Also by Scott Jurek. North chronicles Jurek’s record speed attempt for the Appalachian Trail.
  • Marathon Monks at Mount Hiei. This is a lesser-known gem from 1988. It describes the Tendai Buddist Monks who, as part of their worship, run the equivalent of a marathon every day for 100 days in a row. The book reads somewhat like a textbook, and half the book is dedicated to the history of Tendai Buddhism. It’s a fascinating read.
  • Bowerman and the Men of Oregon – I read this book after reading Born to Run. I’ve read Phil Knights’ Shoedog so I was familiar with the legend of Bill Bowerman. He is one of the most important people in running history. He is credited with helping to start the “jogging” fad.

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