Born to Run born to be read

[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”center”]New novel inspiring, exciting[/pullquote1]

BY KYLE SEELIG ’15
Contributing Writer

On the topic of New Year’s resolutions, I turned my efforts to Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run, hoping to discover the motivation to join the dwindling masses still devoted to the gym. Instead, I found my eyes racing to cover the next lap in McDougall’s miraculous, spellbinding tale. McDougall, a former war correspondent and contributing writer to Esquire and The New York Times, weaves a tale laden with mystery and punctuality. As a narrator, he is a relatable misfit, both piercingly self-aware and discontent.

McDougall is captivated by the history of a Mexican-Indian people called the Tarahumara, a hidden tribe of ultrarunners who rely on minimalism, a fact accentuated by their lack of any kind of footwear.

McDougall builds a surreptitious story while anchoring his operatic ode to running with factual anecdotes and history. As commercialism continues to fill the cracks in our lives, McDougall argues the body is naturally capable of physical endurance and exercise.

Take that Nike Air Max ($230), Adidas BOUNCE ($480), and the newest “affordable” trend, the Vibram Spyridion ($150 and up).

The book charges into the world of competitive running and spirals its way through sport enthusiasts, orthopedic doctors, company men, and, of course, the persistent saga of McDougall and his quest to connect with the Tarahumara.
Dizzying tangents are employed to help enhance the book’s biggest quandaries, such as the Tarahumara’s utopian lifestyle, where “no man is rich, no man is poor,” and these super athletes are capable of running hundreds of miles at a time without injury or equipment. The Tarahumara are a testament of the idealized lone wanderers, protective of traditions and eerily lovable.

McDougall stumbles into the lives of eccentric characters who provide every facet of a multidimensional and fascinating story. His writing is tactile and full of wit but wanders between his role of reporter and omniscient narrator to a point of infidelity, where it might be best to keep all eyes ahead to avoid a bend in the trail here or there.

If you can see through the haze of legends, wild truths and dusty hidden trails in the heart of Mexico, you can find a comprehensive story of finding self-worth and change. McDougall’s intermingling of character backstories, personal relationships, and a seemingly impossible journey emphasizes the emotion behind his reporting.

[three_fourth]For anyone who picks it up, Born to Run will provide the poignant message they never truly recognized themselves to need. The reader is left with the ending, like a crescendo, giving way to a sense of hope, as only a tale of the impossible can do. Luckily for us, Christopher McDougall offers a sincere and personal account, finding the right words for the emotional plunge.[/three_fourth]
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Review Rating:
A-
Christopher McDougall crafts a multi-dimensional page-turner.

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Questions? Email Kyle at kseelig@fandm.edu.

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