Editor's Note: Tramps Like Us
As I sat writing this on the very cusp of Labor Day Weekend, my South Philadelphia neighbors were preparing for something very special: The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, was preparing to play two shows at Citizens Bank Park over the holiday weekend. The Asbury Park legend is an adopted favorite son (plus it'll be about the only interesting thing happening in the ballpark this summer).
But this column is not about Bruce Springsteen. I'm using him as an entrée to what I really want to talk about: "Born To Run."
A funny thing's happened around the Book Business watercooler in the last few weeks. Maybe it's because the local baseball team's been out of contention for months, or maybe it's just something in the Schuylkill Punch we drink here every day, but all anyone seems to be able to talk about is a book that was published nearly three and a half years ago, an utterly ancient tome by today's "ebook bestseller of the daypart" era.
It all started over breakfast at a diner when a staff team-building trip was cut short by one of those classic August downpours. And now Christopher McDougall's "Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen" (Knopf, 2009), seems to come up at least once a day as we shoot the breeze. (I should add, since I know our publisher is reading this, that these conversations are incredibly brief. Hi, Matt!)
Maybe it's because our resident good-guy sales-guy/Twitter jockey (@mike_cooper)/hot-pepper pusher Mike "Coop" Cooper is endeavoring to go Couch-to-5K. Or maybe it's because we've all had our personal battles with running and aging bodies. But McDougall's tale of ultra-marathoners, a tribe of Mexican Native Americans who wake up and run 100 miles in primitive sandals, as well as his own triumph over foot and knee pain, has enthralled all of us.