Born to Run

last updated 2020-06-03

by Christopher McDougall

I had been putting off this book for a while, for no reason in particular. When Katz's The Art of Fermentation mentioned the fermentation process of pinole practiced by the Rarámuri (the same indigenous people featured in McDougall's book), I was excited to pick it up.

The narrative is gripping - learning about the Rarámuri and their ethos of running not as task or exercise, but as way of life was so much fun. So too was learning about the origins of the North American ultra running community. I've followed the current pack of rad runners, but to hear about the original folks was inspiring.

I had some issues with McDougall's framing. He insisted on saying that the Rarámuri were a "lost people" and framed a race with non-indigenous runners as "new world versus old world." I really didn't get this, except to exaggerate the spectacle. He also acknowledged that they were called Rarámuri, but then proceeded to call them by their colonial name "Tarahumara" for the remainder of the book. It's clear from McDougall's writing that he had reverence and awe with the Rarámuri people, so this discontinuity in the writing was odd.

All said, having read this book I find myself running more on my toes, in older shoes, in a less transactional way. Excited for my next ultra marathon!

Compiled 2024-04-21