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Required Reading!

by Emily Gindle » on Sep 25, 2010 3

Have you read Born to Run? If not, you need to find this book immediately. You can borrow my copy, which has a ripped cover and broken binding from overuse (actually you can’t, because I’ve already promised it to a line of folks seven strong). Not only is Christopher McDougall a Fivefinger user and voracious advocate for ditching your running shoes, he also had some crazy amazing experiences organizing a race with the incredible Tarahumara runners of Mexico.

The Tarahumara might be the most public hidden tribe in the media, citing their amazing running culture. They run in sandals made of tire rubber and leather ties. They play a game that involves hurling a ball down a canyon side and chasing it down to the river and back. Throughout history, when invaders came, they simply ran away, pushing deeper and deeper into the Copper Canyons of Mexico. (The Copper Canyons are worthy of a book themselves, or several: just google it and check out pictures. It’s a bigger, forested Grand Canyon and the destination of my next dream vacation, minus the drug runners.)

McDougall ventures into the canyons to find the Tarahumara and runs (no pun intended, really, he wasn’t running) into their American shadow, Caballo Blanco; they organize a race with some of the fastest people in the world, and McDougall’s narrative combines the stories of all these runners, along with some amazing studies and analysis on the evolution of running. The book reclaimed for me what it was like to run as a kid, run so hard just because it was fun to knock the wind out of yourself.

I’m also posting this now to give you a month to read it before I get to meet Caballo Blanco himself! If you’ve already read the book then you know how cool this is. Fingers crossed, he’s coming to the gear shop where I work to give a talk. How telling is it that a celebrity for me is a guy who lives in a wild and remote canyon and organizes an underground ultramarathon?

Anyway, check out the book. And then go for a good long run in your FiveFingers.


  1. Ryan

    August 11th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I read the book because I randomly decided to run barefoot in a sprint triathlon because my shoes were too wet. I told the story to a shoe salesman and he suggested I read ‘born to run’ and so I did. There’s rarely a dull moment in the book and the story definitely keeps you reading. Although I don’t run barefoot I do enjoy the minimalist shoes. For runners it’s a great read. For non runners it will make you appreciate the running characters in the book and make you want to be spontaneous.


  2. Alex

    March 04th, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I read BTR about one year after I had started running in my VFF’s. It felt so good to know that I wasn’t the only crazy person out there!

    The book really inspired me to kick up my running to the next level.

    Probably 6 months after I read BTR I made up my mind to start training for an ultra marathon. I don’t know how long it will take, maybe two years (I hope no longer), but that’s the goal!

    My wife also read BTR and even though she isn’t a runner she was really inspired and loved all the different facts that the author was able to dig up.

    She didn’t go out and buy a pair of VFF’s….but she did get some minimalist sneakers; I won’t complain.


  3. Dan Green

    April 30th, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I read this book just the other week, I didn’t want it to end. I’m not a massive fan of books and I don’t really have the patience for them but I absolutely loved it. Though I can’t really run a marathon it did inspire to do greater things and to push myself. I had already owned a pair of VFF’s before hand and it made me want to wear them more for practically everything.
    Emily I’m very jealous that you met him (I hope he turned up).


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