On Saturday Chris McDougall, the bestselling author of Born to Run, was in town and he left a last impression on the nearly packed house at the MVCC Theater. For those that didn’t make it I’ll give you the Cliff Notes.
Mankind was blessed with so few natural gifts that at first glance we should never have lasted long as a species. We had no claws or fangs, couldn’t swim fast enough to catch fish, couldn’t fly, and yes we were slower runners than all the animals we wanted to eat. Also at this point of our evolution we still hadn’t figured out how to make projectiles (arrows) to take down prey.
However, we had one trait that would define us vs. every other creature alive and ultimately make us their master; we could sweat providing us a built-in air conditioning system giving us the ability to run a very, very, long time. So long in fact that on the savannah plains of Africa tribes could literally run to death animals such as the gazelle.
This ability which transformed the human from a plant gathering creature to an omnivore provided the protein (primarily from meat) to ‘feed the engine’ of our brains.
While men in general are faster than women in short distances (short in Chris’s world is less than 50 miles) as you lengthen distance women quickly get to parity as proven by their winning many ultra marathons.
Chris is a huge proponent of barefoot running that has sometimes piqued the traditionalists of the running world. It’s tough to argue with Chris who at 6’ 4” and 220 pounds (therefore, according to doctrine, not built for running) yet runs for 4 to 5 hours at a stretch. A lucky few had a chance to run a few miles of the Boilermaker course with Chris and didn’t he at least talk a couple into shedding their sneakers and give barefoot running a try.
At the end of the presentation Chris took questions. The funniest one: ‘Do your feet have thick calluses from being barefoot all the time?’ A young lady in the front row had the ‘privilege’ of touching the bottom of his feet. The verdict; it was a smooth as anyone else’s.
It turned out to be a terrific weekend. Chris had a chance to experience a bit of Boilermaker fever and we had a chance learn a little bit more about ourselves