Jackie Kimmel on Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run
I just finished a book that makes me want to strip naked and run barefoot through the mountains, intentionally.
Let me be clear, I am not a runner. The last two years I have taken up running only to prep for the Bolder Boulder 10K. This year I needed some motivation so I picked up Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run assuming it was a self-help runner’s bible.
Boy, was I wrong. This book had zero self-help ideals. Instead, it is a series of motivating stories with a bazaar cast of real-life characters.
Born to Run promotes two fundamental theories. 1) That humans are born to run and our decline of health in the last few decades is directly contributed to our lack of running; 2) That humans have evolved to our current throne over our fellow animals because we can endurance run which allows for persistence hunting. Basically, we may not run fast but we can outlast.
This book tells the tale of the Tarahumara people of Mexico. They live in caves in the Copper Canyons of Mexico and run for fun. Running is a part of their way of life. The book takes you on a journey of how these tribal runners wearing nothing but rubber sandals took on some of the best ultra-runners in the world and smoked ’em.
The most captivating of the main characters, minus McDougall himself, was Caballo Blanco. A mysterious creature who organizes one of the wildest 50-mile runs between some of the best tribal and ultra-runners imaginable.
It wasn’t until I finished reading this book that I googled Caballo Blanco and discovered that he was an American from my neck of the woods. Caballo (aka Micah True and aka Michael Randall Hickman) was a prize fighter, a lover and eventually a running legend to the Tarahumara who lived his life part-time in Boulder, Colorado and part-time running down in Mexico. It saddened me to learn that Caballo was found dead almost a year ago after he took off for a 12-mile run. The only saving grace I can imagine is that he died doing what he loved, running.
Author Christopher McDougall’s stories of the Leadville 100 made me, an overweight gal who runs a 12-minute mile, want to kick-up my training and run a race where death and/or serious injury is plausible.
I may not be a runner, but this book makes me want to get up and go places.
Jackie Kimmel is a writer who lives in Broomfield, Colorado. She is the former editor of several publications including: RV Trade Digest Magazine, The Morning Bridge, The Sky Report, Tusk Magazine and The Daily Titan Newspaper. She has loved reading since she was very young and prefers biographical, historical and chick-lit books.
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