Note: This Review was originally written a year ago. I don't have the flu now.
Born To Run was okay. It's not great, it's not stellar, it's
not maddening. It's okay. The writing is serviceable. The research is a
little spotty, but okay for the type of book this is. It made me want to
try running, just a little. That's definitely saying something.
of course, I was more than receptive to the parts where he was talking
about bare feet running, as shoes and socks are the bane of my
existence. A necessary bane, perhaps, but I hate having my feet covered.
I don't know enough about the areas of science he's talking
about to evaluate his evidence, but some of it seems fine, and
sometimes, there are some huge logical leaps. He jumps from talking
about skyrocketing cancer and other disease rates in the 20th century
right to connecting to that not long-distance running any more like our
ancestors did two million years ago. Not not doing as much physical
activity, not long distance running.
Dude, there were 2 million
years in the interim, you know? And I study the 19th century. I'm not
convinced everyone was running everywhere then either, and we just
suddenly stopped in the last century. Have you seen the clothes? Plus,
for most people, there was too much farmwork to do in a day to take off
for a five hour run. In the city, it'd be even less likely. I'm sure
there are correlations to the changes in sedentary lifestyle, but trying
to say that it's because we stopped running like we did two million
years ago? That's a big lag for that adjustment to catch up, isn't it?
his assertion that long-distance running makes you innately a better
person. I have no doubt there are great people doing long-distance
running, or that getting through an experience like an ultra run would
give you a sense of camaraderie and caring about those who went through
it beside you. No doubt at all. It's how he keeps making it sound like
that's innate to long distance running and not to anything else that I
But this book is strongest when he's telling stories
about runners, or about the joys of running that actually made me want
to try it a little bit. (She says, barely able to move from the
aftereffects of the flu.) So, it's okay. If you're interested, it's not
boring, and it's readable.