Written by Christopher McDougall, this book has been sitting on my TBR pile for close to a year. Wow, I hate that it took me so long to finally read it. The information between the two covers was excellent and entertaining. I am not a runner, but after having read Scott Jurek’s book Eat and Run, ultrarunners have fascinated me. McDougall’s book gives a great perspective on the Tarahumara Indians, who are natural ultrarunners, but he also highlights several prominent athletes in the sport, including my favorite, Jurek. (Seriously, if I won a contest that was “meet ONE famous person of your choosing”, it would be a close race <haha> between Jurek or Stephen King.)
McDougall began his journey by questioning “why does my foot hurt?” This led him on an almost epic journey to drug country in Mexico, as well as cross country, trying to talk to specialists and experts, and of course, the runners themselves. His book reads like a Who’s Who for the ultimate endurance sport that requires no special equipment – just a person and a trail.
He throws out a lot of statistics and research – which the nerd in me totally loved, and now I want to read more about the running barefoot phenomenon. To run without back pain or knee pain? Yes, please! I read some reviews where all the statistics he espoused were erroneous, but I am thinking the names used and the studies he quoted are too easily verified for a publisher to allow him to falsify prominent data. But, maybe I am naive. (Riiiight).
The one semi-negative I have to say is, if you are looking for a book where everything flows easily into one cohesive story, then this is not necessarily the book for you. He did set up each chapter with the end of a chapter, but sometimes he was setting up for a chapter full of research that had nothing to do with the ultras or the Tarahumara. There was a fine tale to be told here – about the ultimate race between some ultras, Tarahumara, and Scott Jurek (see he’s not just “some ultra” to me), but the telling is woven through several chapters of background on why people run. What people eat when they run. How certain ultra races were created. Still, all told, it was a fascinating book. I need to read more now about some of the other ultrarunners. But don’t worry, Scott, you are always NUMBER ONE in my book!