Are we born to run?

“Christopher McDougall explores the mysteries of the human desire to run. How did running help early humans survive — and what urges from our ancient ancestors spur us on today? McDougall tells the story of the marathoner with a heart of gold, the unlikely ultra-runner, and the hidden tribe in Mexico that runs to live.”

 

Nestled in northern Mexico and the canyons of the Sierra Madre Occidental is a small tribe of indigenous people known as the Tarahumara. They call themselves Rarámuri, loosely translated as “running people,” “foot-runner,” “swift of foot,” or “he who walks well.” They are known for evading the Spanish conquerors in the sixteenth century and keeping their cave-dwelling culture alive and secluded. They are also known for their long distance running and their superior health, not displaying the common health issues of “modern” societies.

A recent National Geographic study (Nov. 2008) states: “When it comes to the top 10 health risks facing American men, the Tarahumara are practically immortal: Their incidence rate is at or near zero in just about every category, including diabetes, vascular disease, and colorectal cancer…Plus, their supernatural invulnerability isn’t just limited to their bodies; the Tarahumara have mastered the secret of happiness as well, living as benignly as bodhisattvas in a world free of theft, murder, suicide, and cruelty.”

So what is the Tarahumara story and what can we learn from them? How can we use their history as an example for our own primal living? For some they may not be an example of what is considered primal, but they are one of the closest we can find in today’s world.

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