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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Born to Run 2 by Christopher McDougall & Eric Orton

The first book by the pair of runners, Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton, was a thorough and highly inspiring running book that really set the scene for what texts of this type could be. Highlighting everything from routines, to diets, to training regimes, it created something quite special in its approach, something almost pioneering in a saturated market. Running barefoot, or at least, with minimal footwear.

So it was with excitement and anticipation that this book was approached by the market, only it doesn’t quite deliver on the foundation laid by the first iteration. The attacks on the fitness shoe industry and not dissimilar to the previous book - some 10 years ago - and the evidence provided appears to be a little on the ‘cherry-picked’ side of things. Sure, a lot of books do use data and statistics in creative ways, but it just feels like this at the extreme end of things in this text.

In addition to this, the book is largely a collection of anecdotes from those in support of the premise that McDougall and Orton lay down. Again, not unusual, but just lacking in some credibility. And, again, not that different from the first book. But that first one had a magic to it, there was a philosophical perspective that felt fresh and fascinating to those in the running community. This time it feels a little more pushed, less convincing.

However, in saying this, the programmes that are provided in the book are backed by strong science and the logical approach to injury avoidance is sound. Certainly that makes it well worth a perusal as a runner. The injury is the death knell for the runner, particularly that ever-important knee area. In this book, McDougall and Orton provide the skills and strength building exercises that will mitigate those pesky issues. Even after just a few weeks of following the programme there is definite improvement in stability and control in these areas.

The real gold comes right at the back of the book, the 90-day running programme. This is a very impressive programme by anyone’s standards. Whether you are a first timer, or someone looking to improve their form and ability, this is for you. The thoughtful approach to the skill of running is admirable, and well worth the effort.

Overall, this held a lot more promise than it delivered. Not really enough of a training programme to be a skills book, and not enough story-telling to be an interesting read.

Reviewer: Chris Reed

Souvenir Press


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