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  • Born to Run

  • A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
  • Written by: Christopher McDougall
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders
  • Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (529 ratings)

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Born to Run

Written by: Christopher McDougall
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
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Publisher's Summary

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The astonishing and hugely entertaining story that completely changed the way we run. An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?

“Equal parts quest, physiology treatise, and running history.... The climactic race reads like a sprint.... It simply makes you want to run.” —Outside Magazine

Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from 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 a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

©2009 Knopf (P)2009 Random House

What the critics say

“Compelling. . . . Entertaining. . . . [McDougall] uses an extended portrait of one of the world's least known cultures, the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico's Copper Canyons, to put modern American running under an exacting magnifying glass.”—San Francisco Chronicle 

“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

“Hugely entertaining. . . . One of the most joyful and engaging books about running to appear for many years.”—The Irish Times

What listeners say about Born to Run

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Fantastic story!

Great story about the tarahumara, the ultra running community, and evolution of the human body.

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2 people found this helpful

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  • JD
  • 2021-05-23

Informative, captivating, and entertaining

This book is on my list that I turn to frequently. It is inspiring as you hear about what the human body is capable of and how an average person is able to do an incredible feat. The story is captivating as we get to know a variety of characters and their backgrounds and how that influenced their running. We learn about this culture of running people hand are introduced to an interesting character that we’re not sure whether we should trust or not until the book is nearly over.

The information and stories all culminate in the final events including a long run and a story being told within the book.

This is easily on my recommended list and is one of my favourite books on barefoot running. The narration is done in a way where it doesn’t stand out. I mean this in the best way possible. The narrator is good, so good that you can just engage in the story without being distracted by the narrator.

If you haven’t read or listen to this book already I would definitely recommend it.

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Amazing listen

Definitely a great listen, worth every minute I spent listening while running on the trails myself! So motivating and inspiring. Loved it

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I can’t write, can barely read

I can’t write so how would I ever give a book less than 5 stars. Having said that? 5 stars. For sure. Amazing!

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Great book

I absolutely loved it. It was written, and beyond just a runners read. Just a great story.

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Motivant!

En courant, c’est super de lire ce livre, un récit autobiographique et documentaire, 2 en 1!

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Fantastic listen!

I loved this book! It was a really good mix of history, data (some possibly bias and out of date) and human story. There were moments that had me choked up feeling the human connection in the unfolding story! Will probably listen again, just for fun. An added bonus, I’m enjoying running even more now!

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Great book

I really enjoyed listening to this book - the narration was very good, I like books read by the author but this book was nicely done.

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  • DJS
  • 2023-01-20

Totally enlightening

Fascinating history of the evolution of ultra marathon running and a knock against the athletic shoe industry. A sprinkling of humour and well narrated makes for an enjoyable listen.

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Captivating story and well told

Really enjoyed the narration of this story, kept me captivating and painted the picture of the story quite well. A very inspiring story if you’re a runner or trying to get into running.

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  • Corey
  • 2009-05-31

Amazing read - even for non-runners

First, let me say that I hate running. HATE IT.
But after listening to this wonderfully written and masterfully read story I have actually begun the first steps of barefoot running. After listening to Christopher McDougall's adventures/misadventures in the Copper Canyons of Mexico with Caballo Blanco I have both a new-found respect and interest in running. The book itself perfectly entwines great story telling, historic & scientific discoveries, and profound human truths all associated with the "art" of running. I've rarely been so satisfied by any book - I couldn't stop listening and I miss the characters so much I'm listening again. Awesome awesome awesome.

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76 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 2009-09-16

Superb doesn't even do this book justice

What a great story. Not only great story, our author is major character and protagonist of and within the story. And herein lies the two major themes that make this one of the best books I have ever read.

1) Detailed and inside coverage of the Ultra Running Culture. Mexican (Tarahumara) legendary runners, strange (different/better) Americans. With a story how the two groups got together in the hidden mountains of Mexico for an EPIC race.

2) Detailed debunking of popular myths regarding running (especially useless and debilitating running shoes). As well as technical and deep mental insights of people who run and are addicted to running Ultra races.

Perhaps (I mean why not) I could run a 50 mile ultra. I mean with the help of this book I am now running 20 miles along side the Colorado River (Glenwood Canyon). When I used to groan and moan to run 6.

Finally and again the best story, documentary, training manual, inspiration extended quatrain ever anywhere.

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54 people found this helpful

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  • B.J.
  • 2009-09-01

I'm not a runner ...

And I'll never be one. But, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. Loved hearing the history. And chia seeds have become a routine part of my diet. Educational without being stuffy.

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51 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2009-05-18

Born to Run may be revolutionary

My favorite part of this audiobook is what one reviewer called the "wonky" part. I loved McDougall's argument for and explanation of how modern humans evolved from running humans. This is an excellent listen. I highly recommend it for any runner. I have downloaded something like 70 audiobooks and this is the first one for which I have written a review. This book may be attacked by shoe companies, but more likely, it might lead to companies offering more minimalist running shoes.

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32 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nathanael
  • 2009-09-04

made me become one

it's an amazing book to listen to, first time listener and I hear it on the daily show so I thought I would look it up, too bad you can't get chia seeds to plan here in Japan, besides that is amazing book I can't wait to travel to Mexico and pick so me up ( don't tell anyone) I love the whole book so much I actually started running and signed up for the Tokyo Marathon next year, wish me luck!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Deb
  • 2009-08-02

What a Run ~!

I have no idea what possessed me to buy this book but I am grateful to whatever force guided that click. I cannot remember the last time I finished a book and wanted to start over. This is not just a fabulous read but a fabulous experience. Fred Sander's voice is magnificent, Christopher McDougell is a beautiful story-teller. Born to Run is an amazing (true) story- intertwined with a little history, a bit about nutrition, curious facts about physiology and peppered with generous doses of motivation, spirituality, great characters and the beauty of unexpected friendships. Taken all together-it made me want to run (& trust me, I am so not a runner). Worth every second of the journey.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • S
  • 2009-11-07

It's true- you don't need to run to love this book

You see all the 5-star ratings because it's a great book. Just get it, and you will be happy. So many angles on so many things, I probably need to read it again. Some parts may be a little lengthy about some of the races for some people, but even as a non-runner, I found these parts rather enjoyable. The depth that the book goes into about evolution, shoes, feet, and endurance are what grabbed me. It made me think about what shoes I wear, and almost made me want to run (although I still don't). And it introduced me to a 'new' sport that makes me wonder- Ultras? And then I found out that a friend of mine runs these 100 mile + races, and I felt I could relate in some way to what he does because I read this book.

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26 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kathryn
  • 2009-05-21

Buy it.

If, like me, you're not really a runner - don't let that fact steer you away from Christopher McDougall's new book. With an enthralling cast of true characters and a writing style that is laugh out loud funny... "Born to Run" would be a great summer road trip listen. At least that was my plan for next week's vacation, but once I started listening, I couldn't stop (the narration was excellent). The story: well, I even was inspired to take my creaky, over 50 knees outside for a run to hear the last couple of hours... and that's sayin' somethin'. I hope the author saved a few stories; I'd love a sequel.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Terry
  • 2009-09-08

Inspiring and encourages you to exercise

Great book. My favourite type in that it tells a great story and gives lots of information. It makes you really question how helpful high priced running shoes and orthodics really are.

Reading the book inspires you to go outside and run barefoot on dew-covered grass.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike
  • 2009-08-28

Entertaining and educational

This was a great listen and I found it hard to turn off at the end of my commute to and from work. If you're already a runner, besides entertaining you and motivating your running, this book will tempt you to try at least two things. Try chia fresca and try running barefoot or in some other supportless "shoe." I'd caution runners not to overdo it the first time they run without shoes; no more than a couple/few miles at a time until you build up foot strength. I ran six miles in a pair of the Vibram Five Fingers the author mentions, and while it felt great at the time, my feet and ankles were terribly sore for a week or so after.

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  • Jerome Ahrens
  • 2018-04-08

unbelivable

loved it! everything was just great and I will listen to it again when I take the car just because the story is unmatched! The performance of the reader was very good and his imitations were great.

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  • Dupuy Philippe
  • 2023-02-20

Excellent story

Very good story, adventure and characters... And the best IS that everything IS Real 🤩

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  • Mitrani Sebastien
  • 2022-05-07

trop long

Bien aimé les chapitres sur l'histoire de la course et sur l'évolution.
Mais le reste est beaucoup trop long et répétitif.

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  • Fabien
  • 2020-05-20

Fabulous

I was hesitant at the start, not sure my English knowledge would be good enough, not really understanding where this story was taking it...
but waw! The more I heard the more I loved it!
Great book and great audio too by Sanders!

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  • Isabelle Tamm
  • 2019-09-14

Every chapter more addictive and tear jerking end.

I was recommending the book to people before even finishing! The narration is spot on; voicing characters with lively energ and a mild American accent (I can't handle strong ones). I've just finished it and all I want to do is listen to it all over again whilst going for a long run.

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