Get Your Free Audiobook

Born to Run

The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (578 ratings)

Non-member price: $28.87

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?

In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world's greatest distance runners and learn their secrets - and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.

Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence.

With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a 50-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder. With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons.

Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

©2009 Christopher McDougall (P)2012 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Hugely entertaining.... One of the most joyful and engaging books about running to appear for many years." ( Times)
"Equal parts quest, physiology treatise, and running history.... [McDougall] seeks to learn the secrets of the Tarahumara the old-fashioned way: He tracks them down....The climactic race reads like a sprint....It simply makes you want to run." ( Outside magazine)
A terrific ride, recommended for any athlete." ( Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    461
  • 4 Stars
    94
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    391
  • 4 Stars
    90
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    397
  • 4 Stars
    90
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting and v enjoyable

As a runner I found his investigations and findings fascinating, I even tried some of the techniques. Told very well so as not to become boring and an ending that had me on the edge of my seat. Very well narrated too.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Totally fascinating, am hooked!

What a wonderful story, mesmerisingly vivid scenery, tales of courage and strength and a great insight into the history of running.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amy
  • 13-03-2015

Loved it!

This book exceeded my expectations. Very informative and inspiring. Useful even as a total novice ;) I'll definitely read it again

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

wasn't sure what to expect

I am not really into running but really enjoyed listening to this book. lots of interesting information.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story!

I wasn't a runner before reading this book. Now I am!

A friend sent me a link to this saying I might like it for the interesting story, and I sure did!

The history and storytelling is awesome, great characters and great wisdom is shared.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great book

Fantastic story and a revelation
Really interesting take on a whole lot of things from shoes to food

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What a find 😁

This is the Book of the Year for me. Rarely been so interested and invested in a narrative. Scientific material presented well, terrific real characters, and a solid performance.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

wow

this book will make you want to run. it made me want to run and im 100% not the running or even exercise/fitness type

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible you’ll want to read it twice

10/10. Very inspiring read. Made me want to run and be an ultra marathoner

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Roderic
  • Victoria Park, Australia
  • 29-06-2019

Inspiring and Informative

I enjoyed and appreciated this book enormously. It covers a lot of clear, scientific information while moving through an interesting narrative.
I read the book as someone who has been a distance runner. I do wonder how the book would connect with someone who has never run should they choose to read it. They would learn something but probably not 'feel' some parts of the story.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Samantha Vosloo Harrison
  • Samantha Vosloo Harrison
  • 12-03-2019

Inspirational!

This book kept me coming back for me and has changed me as an athlete. I would highly recommend it!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for maximilliano molina
  • maximilliano molina
  • 03-03-2019

A must read for Runners

This is a must-read book for runners out there

Very interesting history and I'm sure you will get various insights out of this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jonas
  • Jonas
  • 16-10-2018

exceptional in every way

positively devoured this book. exceptionally written. amazing story. life changing revelations on what this body of mine can achieve.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Vishisht Badri Vishal
  • Vishisht Badri Vishal
  • 08-07-2018

Must read!! Loved the story!!

The narrator has done a really good job and I loved how it inspires us to run and the entire story is very captivating to listen to! Learnt a lot from this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael
  • Michael
  • 05-05-2018

loved this book. great story and well told.

absolutely recommend this book - fantastic. it has heart, drama, soul and a beautiful message :)

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for nikhil vij
  • nikhil vij
  • 28-11-2017

A romantic book for runners

great book. author tries to play role of a scientific researcher as well which - to a scientific mind - looks very half baked. but nonetheless the story is extremely interesting and keeps you hooked till end. if you are even slightly interested in long distance running, you will love this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chetan
  • Chetan
  • 29-06-2017

inspiring

loved it... want to run... if not as an ultra runner... atleast upto be a usual marthoner

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for smita somane
  • smita somane
  • 03-12-2016

Superb anthropological run motivational!

excellent narration.Very live at a time philosophical.Real research work on running.Boon to marathoners!
Explained barefoot tradition so well.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kathryn
  • Kathryn
  • 12-07-2015

A captivating story

Spellbinding. Brilliantly narrated. Extremely interesting links between evolution, psychology and running. I couldn't stop listening.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for sarndra Kennedy
  • sarndra Kennedy
  • 18-02-2015

Loved it

Where does Born to Run: rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

At the top

What other book might you compare Born to Run: to and why?

For me its out on its own

What about Fred Sanders’s performance did you like?

He portrayed the characters well

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

all of it

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gilmonkey
  • Gilmonkey
  • 23-05-2012

Born to Run

The most inspirational book I have read or listened to in a long time. Makes you want to stop everything and go for a run.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ian
  • Ian
  • 20-07-2012

Great story, well written and read

There's a lot going on here. It's a book about running that weaves a thrilling story of an adventure race in the Copper Canyons in Mexico, the culture, attitude and history of long distance running, the science behind endurance running, the mystery of a hidden culture of Mexican Indian runners and their unlikely US Ambassador and - most importantly - the author's journey into, and successfully out the other side of the world of adventure racing.
McDougal's skill is to make the characters larger than life, make his own story relevant and interesting and keep the narrative from getting to bogged down in history, science, statistics or geography.
It's an adventure story, a travelog, an inspirational tale, an informative journal and a very funny and memorable story. The narration is first class as well, keeping the wit dry and the pace just enough to keep your breath.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MR
  • MR
  • 04-07-2012

A must-read

a great book for anyone interested in running or training for any run from a 10km to a marathon and beyond (and you will learn all about how far beyond people go!)

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MsRanPan
  • MsRanPan
  • 29-12-2012

Loved it

What can I add, other reviewers knew of or knew the runners here. Comparatively I just read this book. It was interesting, engaging, educational, I really hope this guy did his homework and has really delivered us the truth and I have no reason to doubt this. Its a easy listen but educational, what more can a reader want!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for OnceUponaTime
  • OnceUponaTime
  • 15-12-2012

A great exploration

I read this book because I wanted to improve my own running, I am fascinated by outlying tribes hidden from the world, and I love reading about seemingly super-human abilities.



Born To Run tells the history of the Tarahumara tribe of super runners in northern Mexico. They are a secretive people who routinely run marathons back to back, before getting wildly drunk, before waking up and doing it all over again. They run because they love it, and I have a feeling that an average Tarahumara man or woman could probably run further and faster than 30 average non-Tarahumara men or women running in relay.



There was nothing in the book about Tarahumara genetic insights, so I am next off to Google to see if anyone has figured out the Tarahumara superhero secrets. There was some mention throughout the book of the Tarahumara diet, and I just purchased some Chia seeds online. I'm very interested in seeing them turn water into gel. How odd.



Born to Run told a captivating story and was very entertaining, and is well worth reading. This book made me want to run more, burn my running shoes, and live in the woods.



"If you don't think you were born to run, you're not only denying history; you're denying who you are."



I also learned that the average human has a longer stride than a horse. The human is a more efficient running machine than a horse, so if both were engines filled with the same amount of fuel, the human would go further. We out-horse the horse!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gareth
  • Gareth
  • 14-08-2012

A beautiful book, beautifully read

With the sad loss of Caballo Blanco earlier this year "Born to Run" now takes on an added poignancy.
For a book about a bunch of misfits running in the wilderness it is remarkably gripping and is so well written that I felt I knew all the characters. So much so that when I met, and ran with, Barefoot Ted I spoke to him as if he was an old friend I hadn't seen for years.
I will also add that it is worth buying just for the pronunciations.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sam
  • Sam
  • 25-12-2012

Really enjoyable and inspiring listen

I found the book to be easy to listen to and found myself finishing it relatively quickly over a few drives on my way to work.



I do enjoy running but have never attempted a marathon and never even contemplated anything further! The author brings out the fun in running, exploring the motivations that drive people from various walks of life to regularly run distances that few of us "mortals" have ever attempted on foot.



The book inspired me to relax my running style a little and to try some lighter trainers (not quite "barefoot" but a lot less clunky than the normal structures running trainers I've gotten used to).

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael
  • Michael
  • 25-10-2014

Simply Inspiring!

What made the experience of listening to Born to Run the most enjoyable?

I was hooked and completed it in two days!

What about Fred Sanders’s performance did you like?

Fred Sander 's performance was calming and gentle! Christopher McDougall has really inspired me to make the transition to barefoot running!

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There were moments where I would catch myself laughing along.

Any additional comments?

Really worth the time! If you're interested in running this is the book for you! My next step.. To become an ultra-marathon runner!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anna66
  • Anna66
  • 14-04-2013

Makes you want to run

I just loved this book as after many years of feeling crippled with my ankle I dared to go running again. The narrator has captive and interesting style with a clear voice keeping the tension going throughout the book even when it gets a bit scientific!





4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for KennethO'Rourke
  • KennethO'Rourke
  • 20-07-2015

Entertaining but sometimes seemed a bit phony..

I would not recommend this book to a friend. The author seemed to use poetic license to dramatize events which really didn't require embellishment. At times however he captures the spirit of the sport very beautifully. I have since read that some athletes who were characterised in the book later expressed their displeasure with the author's characterisation of them. Anyway, I will be feeling infinitely more guilty about my modern lazy lifestyle, and for that the author is to be commended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful