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Christopher McDougall Quotes
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Christopher McDougall Quote: “True heroism, as the ancients understood, isn’t about strength, or boldness, or even courage. It’s about compassion.”

True heroism, as the ancients understood, isn’t about strength, or boldness, or even courage. It’s about compassion.

— Christopher McDougall



Christopher McDougall Quote: “The best runner leaves no tracks. – Tao Te Ching.”

The best runner leaves no tracks. – Tao Te Ching.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Wilt Chamberlain, all seven feet one inch and 275 pounds of him, had no problem running a 50-mile ultra when he was sixty years old after his knees had survived a lifetime of basketball.”

Wilt Chamberlain, all seven feet one inch and 275 pounds of him, had no problem running a 50-mile ultra when he was sixty years old after his knees had survived a lifetime of basketball.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Now, Ah Hing, I’m going to teach you how to fight like a woman. – GRANDMASTER IP MAN, Bruce Lee’s teacher.”

Now, Ah Hing, I’m going to teach you how to fight like a woman. – GRANDMASTER IP MAN, Bruce Lee’s teacher.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Once you jump ahead, you’re vulnerable; you surrender all element of surprise, and become a prisoner of your own pace. Even.”

Once you jump ahead, you’re vulnerable; you surrender all element of surprise, and become a prisoner of your own pace. Even.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “He seemed to be a pure racing animal, which explained two of his other peculiar habits: at the start of every race, he’d let out a bloodcurdling shriek, and after he won, he’d roll in the.”

He seemed to be a pure racing animal, which explained two of his other peculiar habits: at the start of every race, he’d let out a bloodcurdling shriek, and after he won, he’d roll in the.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Because we have to answer to one another, and they did not.”

Because we have to answer to one another, and they did not.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Know why he could do it? Because no one ever told him he couldn’t. No one ever told him he oughta be off dying somewhere in an old age home. You live up to your own expectations, man.”

Know why he could do it? Because no one ever told him he couldn’t. No one ever told him he oughta be off dying somewhere in an old age home. You live up to your own expectations, man.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Running seemed to be the fitness version of drunk driving: you could get away with it for a while, you might even have some fun, but catastrophe was waiting right around the corner.”

Running seemed to be the fitness version of drunk driving: you could get away with it for a while, you might even have some fun, but catastrophe was waiting right around the corner.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “As much for his mind as for his body, Erwan likes to run it barefoot.”

As much for his mind as for his body, Erwan likes to run it barefoot.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “You are fit if you can adapt to the demands of your environment with ease and imagination,” Myers.”

You are fit if you can adapt to the demands of your environment with ease and imagination,” Myers.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Runners in shoes that cost more than $95 were more than twice as likely to get hurt as runners in shoes that cost less than $40.”

Runners in shoes that cost more than $95 were more than twice as likely to get hurt as runners in shoes that cost less than $40.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “We were born to run; we were born because we run. We’re all Running People, as the Tarahumara have always known.”

We were born to run; we were born because we run. We’re all Running People, as the Tarahumara have always known.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Because that’s the ugly truth about heroism: the tests don’t start when you’re ready or stop when you’re tired.”

Because that’s the ugly truth about heroism: the tests don’t start when you’re ready or stop when you’re tired.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “You were amazing,” Scott said. “Yeah,” I said. “Amazingly slow.” It had taken me over twelve hours, meaning that Scott and Arnulfo could have run the course all over again and still beaten me. “That’s what I’m saying,” Scott insisted. “I’ve been there, man. I’ve been there a lot. It takes more guts than going fast.”

You were amazing,” Scott said. “Yeah,” I said. “Amazingly slow.” It had taken me over twelve hours, meaning that Scott and Arnulfo could have run the course all over again and still beaten me. “That’s what I’m saying,” Scott insisted. “I’ve been there, man. I’ve been there a lot. It takes more guts than going fast.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “When he zoomed in, he was startled by what he found: instead of each foot clomping down as it would in a shoe, it behaved like an animal with a mind of its own – stretching, grasping, seeking the ground with splayed toes, gliding in for a landing like a lake-bound swan.”

When he zoomed in, he was startled by what he found: instead of each foot clomping down as it would in a shoe, it behaved like an animal with a mind of its own – stretching, grasping, seeking the ground with splayed toes, gliding in for a landing like a lake-bound swan.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Salvador’s brother, however, is the Indiana Jones of the Mexican school system;.”

Salvador’s brother, however, is the Indiana Jones of the Mexican school system;.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “There are two goddesses in your heart,” he told them. “The Goddess of Wisdom and the Goddess of Wealth. Everyone thinks they need to get wealth first, and wisdom will come. So they concern themselves with chasing money. But they have it backwards. You have to give your heart to the Goddess of Wisdom, give her all your love and attention, and the Goddess of Wealth will become jealous, and follow you.” Ask nothing from your running, in other words, and you’ll get more than you ever imagined.”

There are two goddesses in your heart,” he told them. “The Goddess of Wisdom and the Goddess of Wealth. Everyone thinks they need to get wealth first, and wisdom will come. So they concern themselves with chasing money. But they have it backwards. You have to give your heart to the Goddess of Wisdom, give her all your love and attention, and the Goddess of Wealth will become jealous, and follow you.” Ask nothing from your running, in other words, and you’ll get more than you ever imagined.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “You know what kind of nerves are in your feet? The same ones that network into your genitals. Your feet are like a minnow bucket full of sensory neurons, all of them wriggling around in search of sensation. Stimulate those nerves just a little, and the impulse will rocket through your entire nervous system; that’s why tickling your feet can overload the switchboard and cause your whole body to spasm.”

You know what kind of nerves are in your feet? The same ones that network into your genitals. Your feet are like a minnow bucket full of sensory neurons, all of them wriggling around in search of sensation. Stimulate those nerves just a little, and the impulse will rocket through your entire nervous system; that’s why tickling your feet can overload the switchboard and cause your whole body to spasm.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Middle-aged women are likewise no strangers to the lead pack in ultramarathons. Pam Reed was forty-one when she outran all the men to win the 135-mile Badwater ultra across Death Valley in 2002; the following year, she returned and did it again. Diana Finkel was just shy of forty when she led for the first ninety miles of the brutally hard Hardrock 100, finishing second overall.”

Middle-aged women are likewise no strangers to the lead pack in ultramarathons. Pam Reed was forty-one when she outran all the men to win the 135-mile Badwater ultra across Death Valley in 2002; the following year, she returned and did it again. Diana Finkel was just shy of forty when she led for the first ninety miles of the brutally hard Hardrock 100, finishing second overall.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “A team of Harvard scientists had once verified exactly that point by sticking a rectal thermometer in a cheetah and getting it to run on a treadmill. Once its temperature hit 105 degrees, the cheetah shut down and refused to run.”

A team of Harvard scientists had once verified exactly that point by sticking a rectal thermometer in a cheetah and getting it to run on a treadmill. Once its temperature hit 105 degrees, the cheetah shut down and refused to run.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Darwin’s great gift to science was simplifying all life to pure mathematics: your one and only goal on earth is multiplication. Everything you do, every instinct you have, is an evolutionary urge to make babies and leave behind as many copies of yourself as possible. From that perspective, heroism makes no sense. Why risk the grave for someone else if there’s no guarantee of a biological payoff? Dying for your own kids: smart. Dying for a rival’s? Genetic suicide.”

Darwin’s great gift to science was simplifying all life to pure mathematics: your one and only goal on earth is multiplication. Everything you do, every instinct you have, is an evolutionary urge to make babies and leave behind as many copies of yourself as possible. From that perspective, heroism makes no sense. Why risk the grave for someone else if there’s no guarantee of a biological payoff? Dying for your own kids: smart. Dying for a rival’s? Genetic suicide.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Let us live so that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry,” Mark Twain used to say.”

Let us live so that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry,” Mark Twain used to say.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Over time, a subtle cancer spread: where you have more experts, you create more bystanders. Professionals did all the fighting and fixing we used to handle ourselves; they even took over our fun, playing our sports while we sat back and watched.”

Over time, a subtle cancer spread: where you have more experts, you create more bystanders. Professionals did all the fighting and fixing we used to handle ourselves; they even took over our fun, playing our sports while we sat back and watched.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “That was the real secret of the Tarahumara: they’d never forgotten what it felt like to love running. They.”

That was the real secret of the Tarahumara: they’d never forgotten what it felt like to love running. They.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “If he could do it, Churchill was certain, so could his fellow misfits.”

If he could do it, Churchill was certain, so could his fellow misfits.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “If it feels like work, you’re working too hard.”

If it feels like work, you’re working too hard.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Distance running was revered because it was indispensable; it was the way we survived and thrived and spread across the planet. You ran to eat and to avoid being eaten; you ran to find a mate and impress her, and with her you ran off to start a new life together. You had to love running, or you wouldn’t live to love anything else.”

Distance running was revered because it was indispensable; it was the way we survived and thrived and spread across the planet. You ran to eat and to avoid being eaten; you ran to find a mate and impress her, and with her you ran off to start a new life together. You had to love running, or you wouldn’t live to love anything else.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “You’ve got this fancy machine, and it’s controlled by a pilot who’s thinking, ‘Okay, how can I run this baby without using any fuel?’ You and I know how good running feels because we’ve made a habit of it.” But lose the habit, and the loudest voice in your ear is your ancient survival instinct urging you to relax.”

You’ve got this fancy machine, and it’s controlled by a pilot who’s thinking, ‘Okay, how can I run this baby without using any fuel?’ You and I know how good running feels because we’ve made a habit of it.” But lose the habit, and the loudest voice in your ear is your ancient survival instinct urging you to relax.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Running isn’t about making people buy stuff. Running should be free, man.”

Running isn’t about making people buy stuff. Running should be free, man.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “We say the rarajipari is the game of life, ′ Angel said. ‘You never know how hard it will be. You never know when it will end. You can’t control it. You can only adjust.”

We say the rarajipari is the game of life, ′ Angel said. ‘You never know how hard it will be. You never know when it will end. You can’t control it. You can only adjust.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Vigil couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but his gut kept telling him that there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love running. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you got, being patient and forgiving and undemanding.”

Vigil couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but his gut kept telling him that there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love running. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you got, being patient and forgiving and undemanding.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “You could literally halt epidemics in their tracks with this one remedy,” he said. He flashed two fingers up in a peace sign, then slowly rotated them downward till they were scissoring through space. The Running Man. “So simple,” he said. “Just move your legs. Because if you don’t think you were born to run, you’re not only denying history. You’re denying who you are.”

You could literally halt epidemics in their tracks with this one remedy,” he said. He flashed two fingers up in a peace sign, then slowly rotated them downward till they were scissoring through space. The Running Man. “So simple,” he said. “Just move your legs. Because if you don’t think you were born to run, you’re not only denying history. You’re denying who you are.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Just because men and women of our era don’t live up to the myths doesn’t mean no one ever has, or ever will again.”

Just because men and women of our era don’t live up to the myths doesn’t mean no one ever has, or ever will again.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Watching Ann bolt at the start of a race was like watching a mild-mannered reporter yank off his glasses and sling on a crimson cape.”

Watching Ann bolt at the start of a race was like watching a mild-mannered reporter yank off his glasses and sling on a crimson cape.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Vegetables, grains, and legumes contain all the amino acids necessary to build muscle from scratch. Like.”

Vegetables, grains, and legumes contain all the amino acids necessary to build muscle from scratch. Like.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Dr. Neil Roach, of George Washington University, lead author of a 2013 study that tackles the mystery of why, out of all other primates on the planet, we’re the only ones who can kill prey with a lethal throw.”

Dr. Neil Roach, of George Washington University, lead author of a 2013 study that tackles the mystery of why, out of all other primates on the planet, we’re the only ones who can kill prey with a lethal throw.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Their real strength was their ears: Theseus and Hercules were lifelong learners and equal-opportunity students, always seeking advice and just as happy to get it from women. That was the mark of a hero and the signature of pankration: total power and knowledge.”

Their real strength was their ears: Theseus and Hercules were lifelong learners and equal-opportunity students, always seeking advice and just as happy to get it from women. That was the mark of a hero and the signature of pankration: total power and knowledge.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “All you have to do is keep the animal in sight, and within ten minutes, you’re reeling him in.”

All you have to do is keep the animal in sight, and within ten minutes, you’re reeling him in.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Patience and kindness don’t show up on demand; they’re disciplines that require constant practice, and there is no better boot camp for learning those skills than hitching your survival to your ability to discern – and respect – the needs of another creature.”

Patience and kindness don’t show up on demand; they’re disciplines that require constant practice, and there is no better boot camp for learning those skills than hitching your survival to your ability to discern – and respect – the needs of another creature.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “The way to activate your fat-burning furnace is by staying below your aerobic threshold – your hard-breathing point – during your endurance runs.”

The way to activate your fat-burning furnace is by staying below your aerobic threshold – your hard-breathing point – during your endurance runs.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Nothing works out according to plan, but it always works out.”

Nothing works out according to plan, but it always works out.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “One pacer got a little freaked out after she saw her runner stare into space for a while and then tell the empty air, “I know you’re not real.”

One pacer got a little freaked out after she saw her runner stare into space for a while and then tell the empty air, “I know you’re not real.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you got, being patient and forgiving and undemanding.”

The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you got, being patient and forgiving and undemanding.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “The Tarahumara would party like this all night, then rouse themselves the next morning to face off in a running race that could last not two miles, not two hours, but two full days. According to the Mexican historian Francisco Almada, a Tarahumara champion once ran 435 miles, the equivalent of setting out for a jog in New York City and not stopping till you were closing in on Detroit.”

The Tarahumara would party like this all night, then rouse themselves the next morning to face off in a running race that could last not two miles, not two hours, but two full days. According to the Mexican historian Francisco Almada, a Tarahumara champion once ran 435 miles, the equivalent of setting out for a jog in New York City and not stopping till you were closing in on Detroit.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “There’s something so universal about that sensation, the way running unites our two most primal impulses: fear and pleasure.”

There’s something so universal about that sensation, the way running unites our two most primal impulses: fear and pleasure.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Natural Method of Physical Training: Making Muscle and Reducing Flesh Without Dieting or Apparatus. Critics’ reactions were weird and rather frenzied: everyone loved it, without knowing exactly what it was.”

Natural Method of Physical Training: Making Muscle and Reducing Flesh Without Dieting or Apparatus. Critics’ reactions were weird and rather frenzied: everyone loved it, without knowing exactly what it was.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “The Goddess of Wisdom and the Goddess of Wealth. Everyone thinks they need to get wealth first, and wisdom will come. So they concern themselves with chasing money. But they have it backwards. You have to give your heart to the Goddess of Wisdom, give her all your love and attention, and the Goddess of Wealth will become jealous, and follow you.”

The Goddess of Wisdom and the Goddess of Wealth. Everyone thinks they need to get wealth first, and wisdom will come. So they concern themselves with chasing money. But they have it backwards. You have to give your heart to the Goddess of Wisdom, give her all your love and attention, and the Goddess of Wealth will become jealous, and follow you.

— Christopher McDougall


Christopher McDougall Quote: “Solvitur ambulando: “When in doubt, walk.”

Solvitur ambulando: “When in doubt, walk.

— Christopher McDougall

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