Christopher McDougall is a former war correspondent for the Associated Press and is now a contributing editor for Men's Health. A three-time National Magazine Award finalist, he has written for Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Outside, Men's Journal, and New York Times.
Everything you've been told about exercise is wrong. Cancel the gym membership, dump the protein shake and immerse yourself in a Boy's Own story of a group of English poets and academics and local shepherds who resisted the Nazi occupation of Crete using ancient Greek fitness techniques. Including the one-eyed English archaeologist John Pendlebury, and Paddy Leigh Fermor, this motley crew exploited the innate versatility of the body's natural movements and resources to re-create themselves as physical weapons. They ran, crawled, jumped, climbed, swam and lifted their way to superhuman strength and endurance - most notably smuggling a kidnapped German general to Egypt under the nose of a Nazi manhunt. Chris McDougall takes us to pioneering research laboratories in Germany, an assault course in the Brazilian jungle and Parisian parkour routes, exploding common exercise myths. Just as Born to Run inspired casual runners to get off the treadmill, out of their shoes and into nature, Natural Born Heroes will inspire casual athletes to take up cross-training, mud runs, parkour and free-running to bound-and climb, swim, skip, wade, and jump-their way to heroic feats.
When barefoot running guru Christopher McDougall takes in a neglected donkey, his aim is to get Sherman back to reasonable health. But Sherman is ill-tempered, obstinate and uncooperative - and it's clear his poor treatment has made him deeply fearful of humans. Christopher knows that donkeys need a purpose - they are working, pack animals - and so when he learns of the sport of Burro Racing or running with donkeys, he sets out to give Sherman something worth living for. With the aid of Christopher's menagerie on his farm in rural Pennsylvania, his wife Mika and their friends and neighbours including the local Amish population, Sherman begins to build trust in Christopher. To give him a purpose, they start to run together. But what Sherman gains in confidence and meaning is something we all need: a connection with nature, the outdoors, with movement. And as Christopher learns, the side benefits of exercise and animal contact are surprising, helping with mental and physical health in unexpected ways.
From the man who brought you Born to Run: a radical new approach to fitness. When Chris McDougall stumbled across the story of Churchill's 'dirty tricksters', a motley crew of English poets and academics who helped resist the Nazi invasion of Crete, he knew he was on the track of something special. To beat the odds, the tricksters - starving, aging, outnumbered - tapped into an ancient style of fitness: the lost art of heroism. They listened to their instincts, replaced calories with stored bodily fat and used their fascia, the network of tissue which criss-crosses the body, to catapult themselves to superhuman strength and endurance. Soon McDougall was in the middle of a modern fitness revolution taking place everywhere from Parisian parkour routes to state-of-the-art laboratories, and based on the know-how of Shanghai street-fighters and Wild West gunslingers. Just as Born to Run got runners off the treadmill and into nature, Natural Born Heroes will inspire casual athletes to dump the gym membership for cross-training, mud runs and free-running.
The best-selling author ofBorn to Runnow travels to the Mediterranean, where he discovers that the secrets of ancient Greek heroes are still alive and well on the island of Crete, and ready to be unleashedin the muscles and minds of casual athletes and aspiring heroes everywhere. After running an ultramarathon through the Copper Canyons of Mexico, Christopher McDougall finds his next great adventure on the razor-sharp mountains of Crete, where a band of Resistance fighters in World War II plotted the daring abduction of a German general from the heart of the Nazi occupation. How did a penniless artist, a youngshepherd, and a playboy poet believe they couldcarry out such a remarkable feat of strength and endurance, smuggling the general past thousands of Nazi pursuers, with little more than their own wits and courage to guide them? McDougall makes his way to the island to find the answer and retrace their steps, experiencing firsthand the extreme physical challenges the Resistance fighters and their local allies faced. On Crete, the birthplace of the classical Greek heroism that spawned the likes of Herakles and Odysseus, McDougall discovers the tools of the heronatural movement, extraordinary endurance, and efficient nutrition. All of these skills, McDougall learns, are still practiced in far-flung pockets throughoutthe world today. More than a mystery of remarkable people and cunning schemes, Natural Born Heroes is a fascinating investigation into the lost art of the hero, taking us from the streets of London at midnight to the beaches of Brazil at dawn, from the mountains of Colorado to McDougall's own backyard in Pennsylvania, all places where modern-day athletes are honing ancientskills so they're ready for anything. Just asBorn to Runinspired readers to get off the treadmill, out of their shoes, and into the natural world,Natural Born Heroeswill inspire them to leave the gym and take their fitness routine to natureto climb, swim, skip, throw, and jump their way to their own heroic feats.From the Hardcover edition.
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 best distance runners in the world; 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 author) make the treacherous journey into the canyons to try to learn the tribe's secrets and then take them on over a course 50 miles long. With incredible energy and smart observation, McDougall tells this story while asking what the secrets are to being an incredible runner. Travelling to labs at Harvard, Nike, and elsewhere, he comes across an incredible 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.
Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the worlds greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexicos deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultrarunners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons. Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.From the Hardcover edition.