Giving Back

Best-Selling Author & Runner Christopher McDougall to Join Millburn for 10/24 Born to Run Charity 3K

October 21, 2013 at 7:07 PM


MILLBURN, NJ - “The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other, but to be with each other.” -Christopher McDougall

These words encapsulate the message of Millburn’s 2nd Annual Big Read Initiative, which featured Christopher McDougall’s best-selling book, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen for their 2013 program. To promote this message, the author will join Millburn on October 24 to celebrate the Big Read for the Born to Run Charity 3K Run, benefitting two local charities, the Education Foundation and Down the Block. All should take advantage of this unique and fun opportunity to experience the wisdom of this seasoned runner and journalist, while benefiting charities in our own backyard.

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Event organizer and Millburn High School English Department Head and teacher Jessica Siegel created the Big Read Initiative to inspire reading and provide an alternative to assigned summer work.

“As English teachers, we are aware that reading is most powerful when shared by members of a community; people with varied opinions, interests and tastes. That’s why we created Millburn’s Big Read Initiative,” Siegel said. This philosophy made McDougall’s book, Born to Run, an ideal selection. His theme of community is well complimented by an equally applicable message of indulging our innate curiosity. Siegel notes how the book answers a wide breadth of questions including, “Why do humans run? How do hidden tribes live? What running shoe should I buy? What can I do with my chia pet?” Siegel’s passion for this program as well as the book can be felt in her exclamation, “I love how one question can begin an adventure!”

McDougall’s investigative journey begins with a simple question posed to his doctor, “How come my foot hurts?” In seeking answers to his question, the author uncovers information that challenges conventional wisdom that running injuries are caused by running. McDougall postulates, rather, that these maladies occur in spite of the sport, and the secret to preventing them lies within the philosophies of the Tarahumaran people of Mexico’s Copper Canyon. Based on the Tarahumara philosophy of minimalist running, McDougall cast light upon iconoclastic ideas that gave birth to the movement of minimalist running. He shared, “I first went into Copper Canyon with the assumption that the Tarahumara were somehow genetically different and some kind of physical mutation was responsible for their fantastic endurance, injury resistance and overall health. It was only while I was there that it began to dawn on me that physically, they’re the same as us – it’s not who they are that is different, it’s what they do… It’s not every person for him or herself. They run always as a team, sharing and helping.” This theme of sharing is what makes the book ideal for Millburn’s 2nd Annual Big Read Initiative.

When asked what non-runners or couch-potatoes could learn from Born to Run, McDougall replied, “Plenty! I thought running was kind of stupid, since it was an almost guaranteed way to get hurt. So I wrote Born to Run for skeptics like me who have to be shown that running is actually the most natural exercise for all humans.” The theory that one can move toward fitness without requisite pain and stress is revolutionary. “The best advice of all is to treat running like a skill, as you would for any other sport. You don’t go into the gym and start chucking balls at the hoop, or pick up a stick and start crashing around the rink. You practice the fundamentals first,” McDougal advised.

The Big Read will culminate in an October 24 visit by McDougall for the 5 p.m. 3K Charity Run starting at MHS, followed by a book signing. All are encouraged to participate in any way they can, from running to walking to cheering, or even sponsorship.

“The Born to Run 3k is a great way to tie together our curriculum with our school-wide commitment to physical fitness and raise money to help our schools and our neighbors at the same time,” said Millburn Board of Education member and race participant, Rona Wenik.

Millburn’s Boys Cross Country Head Coach Jeffrey Kaye looks forward to welcoming the author to practice and for a workout with his varsity squad. “It’s fantastic,” Kaye says. “I look forward to having him talk to the team as they run. We can learn from anything and everything that he shares!”

Registration ($15, including race shirt) is available online or in person at Millburn’s Sneaker Factory. Race-day registration begins at 4 p.m. at the high school, and sign-up and sponsorship forms are available on Millburn High School’s Edline site or in the MHS office. Awards will be given to the top three male and female finishers in the following divisions: Overall, High School, Middle School & Elementary School. Race questions can be directed to the Sneaker Factory at 973-376-6094.

When asked if he had any final words for our community, McDougall replied, “Sure! But I’ll save that for October 24.” All are welcome to join our community to hear these words and more at the Born to Run Charity 3K Run.

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