I devoured this book in about two days and in this time would not shut up about it to my nearest and dearest. Really, with big saucer eyes and with a white-hot grip on your arm they’ll say, “Walk away now! Don’t get her started.”
But you’ll listen to me, won’t you? Yes? Excellent.
Now, seriously, this is fascinating. Possibly more so for the runners out there, but regardless it is a very entertaining read with a lot of interesting trivia about the history of running (and a definite pro-barefoot running flavour).
Here are some of my favourite quotes:
Whenever an art form loses its fire, when it gets weakened by intellectual inbreeding and first principles fade into stale tradition, a radical fringe eventually appears to blow it up and rebuild from the rubble. Young Gun ultrarunners were like Lost Generation writers in the 20s, Beat poets in the 50s, and rock musicians in the 60s: they were poor and ignored and free from all expectations and endurance. They were body artists, playing with the palette of human endurance.
Ken got a stack of videos of Kenyan runners and ran through them frame by frame. After hours of viewing, he was struck by a revelation: the greatest marathoners in the world run like kindergartners. “Watch kids at the playground running around. Their feet land right under them, and they push back,” said Ken.
Newborns? No problem: at the 2007 Hardrock 100, Emily Baer beat ninety other men and women to finish eighth overall while stopping at every aid station to breastfeed her infant son.
While I’ve not yet ditched my sneakers, I have wondered how I’d fare if I tried this new craze (phase?) of barefoot running. Perhaps I’m getting closer, as my new Brooks Ravenna 2 are far more compacted in the cushioning than my old Asics (they were incredibly ‘bouncy’ ). Then again, when I was buying the Books it came down to those and a pair of the Nike Free Runs which have the ‘feel’ of bare feet, I just couldn’t do it. Maybe I was scared of doing an injury, or just making excuses for myself.
I’m no expert and (honestly) I doubt I do enough running to even justify all the bother that’s coming into choosing a pair of shoes. Making me a perfect customer, though, cynics would say!
Question for the runners: what shoes do you run in? Does it make a difference, in your opinion?
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (cut off in the picture above)