“Oh, I just cannot run, no matter how hard I try. I’m just not meant to run”. I’ve heard several reasons from many people over the years on why they cannot or do not run. But after completing this book, I’ve realized that none is more egregious than this one. If ever, there was an animal that evolved to be able to run and run far, it was ‘us’. Be it the fact that we stood up to get more air into our lungs, be it the nuchal ligament we developed at the back of necks, be it our big butts or be it our hairless (Ha, tell that to an Indian guy!) skin and our sweat glands. We evolved to run and run really long distances!
For a long time we ran and ran really well. Then someone invented a sofa and we plopped our sorry asses on it and made a lifestyle out of it. But this is not what we were known for. ‘Netflix and Chill’ is not what we are meant to do! “If you don’t think you were born to run, you’re not only denying history, you’re denying who you are.”, the author says. And in the face of all the scientific evidence provided in one chapter of the book, you will have to concede that!
A friend recommended this book to me and I cannot not thank him enough. The book is about several things including the ‘Tarahumara‘ people from the Mexican ravines, some badass ultra marathons, some equally badass & quirky runners and barefoot running.
The book starts off by talking about the Tarahumara people. You’ll read some amazing stories and facts about them. How they have crazy nights of binging on food and drinks and then rouse themselves to a run the next morning which lasts up to 2 days! Or how even in today’s time they don’t have any form of money in their community, they mostly get by trading favors. ‘Incredible’ is the word I’d use for pretty much every fact that I’ve learned about them through this book. “When you run with the earth and on the earth, you can run forever”, is their motto.
The author also gives the readers a detailed account of some ultra-marathons as he builds up to the “greatest race the world has never seen”. There is one where Ann Trason lost the Leadville 100 to a Tarahumara runner. I am an out and out feminist, but even I was rooting for the Tarahumara guy for the sheer spirit with which these people (both men and women) run. In a 100 mile race, Ann was 22 minutes ahead with only 28 miles to go and the Tarahumara runner still chased her down. Chased her down like a deer! “The guy didn’t even look tired (as he passed her), it just looked like he was just having fun”, she later exclaimed. Quite incredible! If that account doesn’t excite you enough, then there is another one where Scott Jurek, perhaps the best ultra marathoner of the modern world, came back from the dead (not literally) and ran 80 miles as fast as he had ever run 80 miles, to win the Badwater 135 in the scorching heat of the Death Valley!
The author talks about some important and intriguing things in the book like good running techniques and diet practices but none more important than the spirit of running. “Ask nothing from your running, and you’ll get more than you ever imagined”, the author says. Don’t do it for the weight loss, don’t do it to look good, don’t do it as a stress buster. And definitely don’t do it to show off your PBs on social media! Do it it because you can. Do it because you were always meant to do it! Don’t do it to make it second nature, but do it because it was our first primal nature!
I’ll leave you finally with these lines:
“Perhaps all our troubles – all the violence, obesity, illness, depression, and greed we can’t overcome – began when we stopped living as Running People. Deny your nature, and it will erupt in some other, uglier way.” Let’s not deny our nature anymore!
Here is an awesome song to put on your playlist and go running today:
PS: I hope this book excites you as much it excited me. If it doesn’t, write to me and I’ll possibly mail you a refund 🙂