In a word? Wow! I was kind of mixed on reading this one, and the initial chapters left me feeling like it was jumping around with no real point, but I persevered and I am so glad I did. The story came together in the end into an incredible story with so much heart. I now understand why this book is revered in the running community and how it inspired so many runners!
The story begins as one man's quest to figure out how he can stop being crippled by injuries due to running. His research leads him to the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico and then to a man named "Caballo Blanco". McDougall explores the history of ultramarathons and profiles the runners who are crazy enough to attempt it. He runs in the Copper Canyons with Caballo Blanco, where the man confides his dream of holding the greatest ultramarathon ever - pitting the speedsters from the outside world against the friends he has made within the canyons. The rest of the book focuses on bringing this race to life.
Each new character that becomes woven into the story brings lessons and stories along with them and, while the book sometimes reads in a disjointed way...it all comes back together to make a remarkable tapestry of a story. When the big race finally came together, I felt like I was emotionally invested in these characters. That they had become my crazy runner friends.
I'll never run an ultramarathon and I'll never run barefoot (though, minimalist shoes are not out of the question now), but I feel like I understand those who do in a much better way now. If you are a runner - I highly recommend this one. Born to Run left me with tears in my eyes and craving more heart-filled running books like it.