Boulder runners are in for a treat Monday when best-selling author Chris McDougall returns to town to speak at In Motion Running, at 6:30 p.m.
McDougall, of course, wrote “Born to Run,” which has sold 1.4 million copies on various platforms. “Born to Run,” which features the late Boulder ultrarunner Caballo Blanco and ultra star Scott Jurek, brought McDougall international fame. Yet, in an interview with boulderrunning.com, he was the same funny, humble, self-deprecating as always.
His main point is finding “heroes” who can guide us in our own lives, and thus allowing us to become a hero ourselves. He writes about Sherman the Donkey in his new book, “Running with Sherman.” He rescues Sherman and trains him to race Colorado’s burro-racing championships.
“It is hard for people, men especially, to find that place of self-responsibility and a model for the kind of person you want to be,” said McDougall. “An independent person of honor.”
He added, without going into specifics; “And in this political climate, where is that sense of honor?”
Perhaps that is why McDougall always enjoys returning to Boulder, because he said, “In Boulder I am always finding myself plunged into my tribe, my kind of people.”
And, in the case of Sherman the Donkey, his kind of animal.
McDougall, 57, is a “natural born” storyteller, a throwback to the old days of journalism, someone who combines the ear for dialogue of an Ernest Hemingway with the descriptive qualities of Thomas Wolfe, topped by the Gonzo approach to reporting popularized by Hunter S. Thompson. From his earliest days as a kid reading and re-reading Sherlock Holmes; “My Side of the Mountain;” “The Phantom Tollbooth;” and “The Once and Future King,” to his own books, “Born to Run” “Natural Born Heroes” and now “Running with Sherman,” McDougall has been interested in heroes.
With “Sherman”, McDougall gives us a hero of the four-legged sort, and as with his other books, McDougall sends the reader off on interesting side journeys along the way, such as how he met and wooed his wife, Mika, on a snowy Philadelphia night and ended up moving with her to Amish country. After chatting with the author for a bit, I realized that just as there is a typecast of the “Hemingway Hero,” so is there a kind of “McDougall Hero,” what he called, “weird loners,” such as Sherlock Holmes and “Wart,” the “runt of a kid” in “The Once and Future King” who turns out to be King Arthur.
In Motion will be doing an OPTIONAL fun run at 5:30p, the book talk will start promptly at 6:30p. There will be food and cold beverages for everyone to enjoy! (Note: This event will be limited to 100 people. Free tickets are available only at In Motion Running.)