McDougall writes the novel as a first-hand account of his journey toward supernatural-like athleticism, and into a culture unknown, as he travels across the country seeking the answer to a seemingly simple question: “How come my foot hurts?”
Who are these mystical-sounding characters? They are the world’s least-known, yet some of the most amazing runners in the country. After searching for and recruiting the country’s most famous runners, Blanco and McDougall put together what is quite possibly “the greatest race the world has never seen.”
This story is likely to seem surreal as McDougall uncovers ancient secrets to becoming a top-notch runner. The author incorporates historical and scientific information into the narrative, which can make the story line dry at times, but is essential to understanding the significance of the narrative.
The statistics and biological tips that McDougall offers about successful and healthy running, with the help of doctors and physicians across the world, are stunning. Who would think that the best shoes for running are those with minimal support, or that barefoot running is more beneficial than with shoes?
It is facts such as these that McDougall emphasizes throughout his story to heighten the difficulties of training and racing for ultra-runners. Putting yourself in the shoes of these runners will make your stomach twist and your head hurt, but it will most importantly motivate you.
As a reader who may not be a runner, or even an athlete, this story is still one to inspire you, and urge you to the push the limits in all that you do.