Tuesday, May 10, 2011

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

Born to Run is a nonfictional novel by Christopher McDougall and his story about why runners get injured so much. McDougall is a journalist who constantly suffered from running pains and goes to see a bunch of running doctors. They all tell him that the best way to stop getting hurt is to stop running as much. It seemed kinda of weird to him that something that is supposed to be so good for you could hurt your body so much so he decided to do some research and went to visit the Tarahumara, a seclusive tribe of Native American who live in the Copper canyons of Chihuahua, Mexico and who are some of the best ultra runners in the world. For the Tarahumara running is a way of life. They ran too escape early Spanish settlers, they run from town to town to deliver news, they run to hide from the modern day drug cartels in the area, and they also use it for festivals and celebrations. The Tarahumara are a very peaceful and shy people who also choose to run rather than fight. They live in small caves or huts in their canyons and eat pinole and chia during their runs. Now just because their shy doesn't mean they don't know how to party. During their festivals before race day they get crazy drunk off of homemade tequila which results in spouses cheating on each other, men getting in fist fights, and women naked mud wrestling. They use these parties as a sort of stress reliever from being so nonconfrontational the rest of the time and always forgive each other's actions and just blame it on the tequila. Now what attracted McDougall to the Tarahumara was their ability to run over 100 miles with nothing but sandals made from rubber tires on their feet and not get any injuries. He learned that running related injuries spiked in 1972 due to the introduction of the modern day running shoe by Nike. The problem with the modern running shoe is the amount of cushioning in the heel which has made our feet weak and caused more problems for the rest of our body. He also goes on to talk about how humans are able to hunt using persistence running which is just chasing after something until it dies from exhaustion (animals such as deer can only breathe once per stride where as we can breathe multiple times, we also sweat to cool off where as a deer has to stop and pant). The main plot of the story centers around a race between a couple of the best American runners and some of the best Tarahumara runners. Long story short Arnulfo Quimare (a Tarahumaran) beat Scott Jurek (The best American ultra runner and record holder of the 24-hour race).

1. Do you think the Tarahumara's way of life is better than our own?
2. Would you ever consider using vibram five fingers or something else like them?

1 comment:

Hayley D 11/12 said...

1. It sounds like many aspects of the Tarahumara tribe's way of life is better than our own. They live a simple life with hardly any conflict. I know that I would definitely take that lifestyle rather than live an extremely hectic life with constant violence, which is so common in today's society.
2. Based off of the research within this novel it sounds like it would be beneficial to use something like vibram five fingers. Therefore, I would definitely consider wearing vibram five fingers as opposed to the typical running shoes used today.