Are we born to run? | Christopher McDougall


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? At TEDxPennQuarter, 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.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on, at


37 thoughts on “Are we born to run? | Christopher McDougall”

  1. does anyone know where to find a video of the (last 5 miles of) NY marathon with the Tulu finish the presentation starts with? I'd love to really see it

  2. Great talk. I bought shoes that corrected my flat arches and I feel much better. My feet don't strike the ground very well on their own. I'd love to try a minimalist shoe to test though.

  3. I've seen a documentary where the chase in savannah is done by 1 man out of a 3 person group, not a pack. So when you say "you can't (…)" it's probably a bit limited… 🙂

  4. Completely agree with how we've taken a simple, relaxing thing like running and turned it into some kind of circus. Literally can't stand urban marathons. Everyone always talking about PRs, having the latest running gear, and being scared of "hitting the wall" at mile 20. Absolutely sickens me. Whenever someone asks me if I run and I say yes, they almost always ask me my PRs. I just don't get it. Wish I could have had the chance to experience the beauty in running before it became Americanized.

  5. My question is: are we too far along to truly run barefoot?

    Humans evolved to run, and like any other species evolving, the reason we did so was because those who couldn't run, because they were injury prone, or whatever, died. Has our society become so focused on shoes, and the monetization of footwear, that it is now too impractical to run barefoot? Have we as a species devolved into one that now relies on running with shoes? While it's true that some, maybe even many, can benefit from running barefoot, there are also people out there that cannot run barefoot. They have instabilities in their legs and feet and core that they were born with, and cannot fix. These people certainly cannot run barefoot, they will and do get injured when they try to. I think that running barefoot is something everyone should at least try, and if you are a cross country or track runner, doing even a little barefoot running in addition to your normal running can correct form variances and imbalances, and thus make you a better runner, but I think that as a society we are past the point of being able to run barefoot.

  6. A couple years ago,scientists discovered old footprints from a human,turns out that that person was running about 30 or above miles per hour!

  7. Really liked this talk—
    However, no one needs animal protein, no matter their age! 🙂
    Running in winter in snow—I know some do it barefoot— If we aren't quite up to that, which shoes?

  8. we are not a hunting pack of animals Chris. we do not have any true carnivorous traits. there is a Ted talk debunking the paleo diet. she has a phD in this area Chris. listen and learn please

  9. This is what happens when you run improperly, injure yourself badly and instead of going to a physiotherapist or an orthopedic for medical advice you start watching YouTube videos and browsing the dark side of the internet.

    To me, this sounds a lot like: hey, the primitive man didn't have any of our modern diseases, let's all try the PALEO DIET!

    You know what? We can't. We are white collars. We live in cities. We eat junk food sometimes. We don't have to run to live and we breathe polluted air. Moreover, good running shoes are not the ultimate solution to a runner who has no idea how to land on his feet properly. Hear what he says at the beginning "one foot in front of another". WELL NO, DUDE! That's walking. Running long distance is a skill. And this skill has to be learned, just like other skills (walking, swimming, riding a bike).

    Do you want the missing piece of the jigsaw? We breathe and eat crap, they don't.

  10. Barefoot running: a really bad idea for people who live in places where it's very hot or slightly cold or the ground is unclean.

    Wanna talk about injuries? Try pulling a bent rusty nail out of your midfoot.

  11. When there is a big cushion under our foot, we can get away with all kinds of shenanigans that the rest of the lower body may not agree, while feet not hurting at all. When barefoot, one must run with most care in order for feet to not hurt, and that can correct the running technique, and therefore become injury-free.

  12. the shoe indeed just protect the skin I can't run with shoes where could be broken glass underneath the grass or little rock or little holes

  13. 2 million years these evolutionist have no concept of time. Evolution and the fact that the earth and humans are so insanely old has mostly been debunked as all being false. The way these archaeologist used to date bones and rocks, and some still do is extremely flawed and unreliable.

  14. So millions of years ago, people preferred to run at packs for hundreds of miles just to eat an antelope? I bet on the way they saw plenty of trees with fruits on them.

  15. This is atrocious! Humans were not born to run .. they were born to walk.. The fittest of humans (by fittest I only mean fit for running) and that too only at their prime which is between 20 and 40 years of age can run miles together.. running expends energy and is a total waste to catch prey.. I would much rather walk to a nearby watering hole and set a trap than run in the savannah for eons..! Think again.. millions of people want to lose weight and hit the treadmill the world over.. How many of them see results? Running damages knees and cartilage when done over a long period of time.. The only thing I can take from this lecture is that humans can run for joy.. Our opposable thumbs are the key to our survival and we use them to life weights and shape objects.

  16. If you have the power to buy some good running shoes but go barefoot because of some anti-consumerism propaganda, then you are an idiot.

  17. Great Stuff but we are Frugivores! We are tropical beings and meant to eat sweet tropical fruit!
    Go Raw High Fruit Vegan if you want to reach your full potential!

  18. yeah U all right.. i mean, i agree that on western society twe are tôld to run to convenient reason not as it art.. thé pleasure of Running, Ladies and Gents, is more like dancing with our all body. nah!?

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