I saw it in a mini-library. I tried reading the first few pages, and it was love at first-chapter.
I got my own copy several months later, and Christopher McDougall didn’t just sustain the high you get at the start of the book. But like a runner, his book had endurance and even sprinted toward the finish line.
Instead of waxing on and on about why I think you should get the book (and thus give you regurgitated meat), here’s an excerpt. You’ll see why I think this book should be required reading, not just for runners and athletes, but for human beings.
“How do you flip the internal switch that changes us all back into the Natural Born Runners we once were? Not just in history, but in our own lifetimes. Remember? Back when you were a kid and you had to be yelled at to slow down? Every game you played, you played at top speed, sprinting like crazy as you kicked cans, freed all, and attacked jungle outposts in your neighbors’ backyards. Half the fun of doing anything was doing it at record pace, making it probably the last time in your life you’d ever be hassled for going too fast.
“That was the real secret of the Tarahumara: they’d never forgotten what it felt like to love running. They remembered that running was mankind’s first fine art, our original act of inspired creation. Way before we were scratching pictures on caves or beating rhythms on hollow trees, we were perfecting the art of combining our breath and mind and muscles into fluid self-propulsion over wild terrain. And when our ancestors finally din make their first cave paintings, what were the first designs? A downward slash, lightning bolts through the bottom and middle – behold, the Running Man.
“Distance running was revered because it was indispensable; it was the way we thrived and survived and spread across the planet. You ran to eat and avoid being eaten; you ran to find a mate and impress her, and with her you ran off to start a new life together. You had to love running, or you wouldn’t live to love anything else. And like everything else we love – everything we sentimentally call our “passions” and “desires” – it’s really an encoded ancestral necessity. We were born to run; we were born because we run. We’re all Running People, as the Tarahumara have always known.”