Born to Run – An Audiobook Review

Written by Ann Brennan

Born to RunFor six months I avoided reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. I love to read and I have an eclectic taste in books. But the book and the barefoot movement surrounding it had the ring of fad and because fads come and go I was not interested in wasting my time. Eventually though, after being hounded by runners I met in races, at expos and even in my own neighborhood I finally gave in.

In order to give the book a fair shot I decided to get it through Audible. This way I could run and listen to it and if I hated it, at least I was getting my run in and not wasting time with a book I had little interest in in the first place.

For the first chapter, I was convinced I had been right. I had been sucked into reading a book about the big, bad shoe companies and the hippy-dippy love of running barefoot. But that quickly changed.

McDougall started talking about his problems with plantar fasciitis and my ears perked up. Although I was running again, I had spent months recovering from a ruptured plantar fascia and had come to believe that the way I was running was to blame.

But that makes this book seems boring and that was a big part of why I didn’t read it. I had dealt with PF for months. I had read just about everything I could on the subject. I had listened to doctors, physical therapists and coaches talk about it. Why would I want to read one more thing about it?

The truth is the book does discuss the problems our shoes have caused for us but it is much more than that and far more interesting than just one more book about sports injuries.

When McDougall goes on the hunt for Caballo Blanco and began to tell a bit about his history with the Tarahumara I began to understand the draw the book had. When he related the race between the Tarahumara and Ann Trason I forgot I was listening and just ran with all the joy that there is in running.

Although I listen to audiobooks regularly, I have never enjoyed the experience of running and listening as much as I did during the race scene as Trason fought tooth and nail for the win. If for no other reason, this scene made the book worth the time.

In the end though, I learned something. I am not going to be a barefoot runner. I don’t know whether it is right or wrong to shun the idea but I do believe that I was running in the wrong shoes. I do believe I was running with the wrong form. And I do believe that these were the things that lead to a ruptured plantar fascia. McDougall’s story convinced me of this.

If you haven’t read this book yet, I encourage you to do so. But if you have read it without listening to it, I encourage you to go back and listen to it while running. The reader is phenomenal and in the end the story seemed meant to be told as opposed to read.

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About Ann Brennan

Ann Brennan is first and foremost a mom of three beautiful children. She is the managing editor of Beyond Limits Magazine and the creator of Ann’s Running Commentary. In 2012, Ann took Ann’s Running Commentary to new levels – first with a segment on the RunRunLive Podcast, chronicling her journey to her first Ironman and second, with a new channel on YouTube. Currently Ann is working on a non-fiction book series and working hard every day to remind people to get up, get active and get out there.
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7 Responses to Born to Run – An Audiobook Review

  1. I too enjoyed Born To Run immensely, for the great storytelling and the joy it brought me as a runner.

    While I have tried some minimalist/lightweight shoes (New Balance 100 series) I have no plan to go the the Vibrams or any other barefoot type wear. I read somewhere that even in Vibrams, you don’t land the same way you do when completely unshod (the ideal landing). And clearly, it is not practical to run unshod many places.

  2. Born to Run would have been a better book without the tirades against the shoe companies. Unfortunately, a great running tale gets a little (but fortunately not completely) lost amidst Christopher McDougall’s agenda, and he has only become more of an extremist since the success of the book.

  3. Joanne says:

    That book is on my list. I just finished Dean Karnazes last book. He is so inspiring. I’m not an ultra runner, I’m sticking to marathon distance but everything he goes through gives me a push for what I do.

  4. Ara says:

    I’ve been running and doing triathlons now for 3 years. I haven’t read one book on triathlons or running. I don’t know why. It’s not that I don’t like them, it just never occurs to me. I will definitely put this book on my list of books to read. Next time I go to the library I will definitely look it up and check it out.

    Glad to hear you’ve healed from your ruptured PF and are now back out there running.

  5. Amy Reinink says:

    I loved Born to Run, and feel lucky that I read it when it first came out, so I could focus on the story of the race itself, and not the preachy bits about the big, bad shoe companies. I won’t use this as an opportunity to vent my frustrations with the latter aspect of the book and the barefoot trend that has come in its wake, but will simply agree that the best part of it was the pure love of the sport that it conveyed in its best parts.

  6. Rich Dafter says:

    Ann, it is so sad that Micah True died. You just followed me on Twitter so I read this article. Thanks for the great review of the book and audio book.

  7. Hannah says:

    I absolutely loved “Born To Run!” It is such an inspirational book about the joy of running! Have you read “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand? I just posted a book review of this amazing book on my blog. I hope you’ll check it out!

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