At the heart of Born to Run lies a mysterious tribe of Mexican Indians, the Tarahumara, who live quietly in canyons and are reputed to be the most efficient distance runners on the planet; in 1993, one of them, aged 57, came first in a prestigious 100-mile race wearing a toga and sandals. A small group of the world’s top ultra-runners (and the awe-inspiring writer) make the treacherous journey into the canyons to take a look at to be informed the tribe’s secrets and then take them on over a course 50 miles long. With improbable energy and smart remark, McDougall tells this story even as asking what the secrets are to being an improbable runner., Travelling to labs at Harvard, Nike, and somewhere else, he comes across an improbable cast of characters, including the woman who recently broke the world record for 100 miles and for her encore ran a 2:50 marathon in a bikini, pausing to down a beer at the 20 mile mark.
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