Marathon? How adorable.

Imagine a race of superhumans capable of tearing off 300-mile jaunts on foot in fits of blinding speed than span days on end with little sustenance.  They exist in a remote region of the planet Earth away from all human beings.  They are impervious to most disease and live to an extraordinary age.  Oh yeah, they don’t wear shoes.

Now, stop imagining.  They are the Tarahumara tribe from Mexico’s Copper Canyons.  Perhaps the secret to their powers is their geographic remoteness or lack of roads to their hidden homes carved out of rock.  To get even somewhat close to the Tarahumara requires traversing perilous terrain guarded by bands of murderous drug cartels.

The author of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen, Christopher McDougall, is an aspiring runner plagued by injury.  He seeks out this mythical people to learn of their secrets.  He discovers a peaceful and protectively withdrawn people that crosstrains for their multimarathon races with gallons of corn beer and nightlong dancing jags.  What’s amazing about this New York Times bestseller is that isn’t fantasy at all.