Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall

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The Independent Culture

Meet the Tarahumara, a tribe of Mexican Indians. If you can catch them up, that is, because they're the best distance runners in the world, who think nothing of blasting off on a 48-hour run after an all-night drinking session. Oh, and they don't wear trainers, preferring homemade sandals fashioned out of old tyres.

It seems to work; one of the tribe won a high-profile 100-mile race in the United States. At the age of 57. When they were challenged by a crack squad of American ultra-runners to a 50-mile race through the hot canyons where they live, they were up for it.

Around that contest Christopher McDougall fashioned a fascinating story which is peopled with extraordinary characters, explaining along the way why modern shock-absorbent running shoes cause rather than prevent injuries, how the ability to run gave humans a crucial evolutionary edge, and how the Bushmen hunters of the Kalahari Desert can run down antelope.

Part how-to manual, part scientific treatise but throughout a ripping yarn, this book will inspire everyone who reads it to think on their feet.

Published in paperback by Profile, £8.99