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Nonfiction Chronicles: Marathon Sunday

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

Think the New York City Marathon is a grueling test of endurance?  Well, to the Tarahumara Indians of the Copper Canyons of Mexico, it’s a walk in the park.  This reclusive tribe of super-runners can go hundreds of miles on desert terrain clad only in thin sandals after an all-night party drinking homemade tequila.   Author McDougall goes on a quest to discover the secrets to their peace-loving, cooperative, and very physical lifestyle by seeking out the mythical Caballo Blanco, an American ex-pat who earned their trust and serves as intermediary.  Using the Tarahumara as a backdrop, McDougall digresses into interesting topics such as the biomechanical superiority of barefoot running, reasons for the decline of U.S. distance running, and how evolutionary evidence points to the fact that the human body was, in fact, built for running.

Perhaps a reading marathon is more to your taste.  Try Ultra Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes;  Duel in the Sun: The Story of Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley and America's Greatest Marathon  by John Brant;  Strides: Running through History with an Unlikely Athlete by Benjamin Cheever;To the Edge: A Man, Death Valley, and the Mystery of Endurance by Kirk Johnson andThe Extra Mile: One Woman's Personal Journey to Ultrarunning Greatness by Pam Reed.

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