The sad news that Micah True or ”Caballo Blanco” as he was nicknamed, passed away sometimes between March 26 and 31. This review is in his honour. True is a key character in “Born to Run”, a book that already has had widespread influence in spite of being published just a year ago. Micah True passed away at the age of 58, doing what had become a lifestyle to him: Running alone in nature. His body was found in the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, known for being a dangerous place to get lost in.
If asked to describe “Born to Run” in one word, it would be: inspiring. This is not a dry “how to” book but rather an exciting adventure full of colorful characters. Now and then, chunks of interesting information are inserted into the epic drama. The results is a book that you can’t put down once you’ve started reading. You won’t forget it easily either and whether you’re a runner or not, it will surely impact you. The runners will remember why they love running and be inspired to conquer new Goliaths while the non-runners will…well, wonder why on Earth they haven’t given running a shot.
“Born to run” is not a book about barefoot running or proper running technique, even though it helped putting both subjects on the map. It’s not about chia seeds and other components of the Tarahumara diet, even though it does give you plenty hints of what these amazing athletes fuel themselves with. It’s not about the history of ultra running, even though you do get to peak into it. It’s not about all the ancient tribes all around the world that once lived off persistence hunting (chasing an animal until it drops down exhausted), and yet it depicts a modern day example of this described by one of the persons doing the hunt. Nor is it about the history of the running shoe and why we suddenly started to wear highly cushioned shoes with elevated heels. It’s not about coaching, and yet you get to peak into the minds of some of the most legendary running coaches of our times.
These are examples of the pieces of information intergrated into the story, discovered by the author on his journey of uncovering the joys of running. This information is presented in a lively way and never gets dry or dull.
The Main Story
So, what is the book about then? The story itself centers around the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico. They live a simple and secluded life in an isolated canyon. Running is a lifestyle to them, a normal part of being alive. Gender and age does not matter, everybody runs. The author stumbles across these people while searching for the answer of why he can’t run without getting injured. As a journalist, he smells a good story and off he goes to Mexico to find out the secrets of these natural ultra runners.
Even though it’s his first book, Christopher Mcdougall does an excellent job. He is, of course, a seasoned writer as a journalist, but this is probably different from anything he has undertaken before. The story reads like a novel and he describes the events as though he was there. This makes it more exciting and fun to read. The characters are modern ultra runners and legends, Mcdougall himself and the Tarahumara Indians. And last but not least, Micah True or “Caballo Blanco” as he was nicknamed.
The story starts with this man who is clouded in mystery. Without him there wouldn’t have been a story at all, because he alone had won the respect of the Tarahumara Indians by living and running where they live, respecting and admiring their culture. He was the link between the reserved Indians and the western ultra runners. Through his and Mcdougall’s joint efforts, the peak of the drama was made possible: A 50 mile race in the Tarahumara home court including some of the greatest western ultra runners including Scott Jurek. This was a dream come true for True.
The drama not only begins with Micah True but also closes with revealing his story and true identity. This is appropriate, because the true message of the book is fleshed out in the person of Micah True. He finds salvation from the complications and hurts of modern life through running and a simple lifestyle. In essence, the book conveys the joy of running. And this joy is really infectious, it jumps out of the pages of the book and becomes a part of you.
It would be fair to say that Mcdougall is presenting the gospel of running in this book. And as such, those who already have tasted the joy of running will be encouraged and inspired by the message, whether they agree with all the implications made in the book or not. Those who haven’t already had their eyes opened to this gospel, will either give running a try, or remain sceptical. Either way, all readers–runners or not, should find the story enjoyable. So if you haven’t yet read this influential best seller, I highly recommend you get a copy right away.
Post a Comment
Have you read “Born to Run”?
- How did the book influence you?
- What did you like the most about it?
- Share your thoughts on Micah True