Bookmark and Share

"Barefoot" NY Times Columnist and Author Chris McDougall Visits KU

Sept. 17, 2012 (updated Sept. 24, 2012)


Update: watch the video above reviewing Chris McDougall's visit to KU.  Below is the original release.

KUTZTOWN, Pa.- Kutztown University welcomes author of Born to Run, Chris McDougall at the Academic Forum on September 20 for several activities throughout the day. (See below for schedule.) McDougall is the author of the KU freshman text, the book freshmen are asked to read prior to the beginning of the academic year.

Following high school in Philadelphia, and continuing his education at Harvard University, McDougall was interviewed and later hired by Susan Linnee, the Madrid bureau chief for the Associated Press. Operating on her own logic, Linnee hired McDougall as the AP's new Lisbon correspondent, even though he didn't speak Portuguese and had just about zero news-writing experience.

McDougall covered news on Portugal's former African colonies, shuttling back and forth between Portugal and Africa, covering wars in Angola and Congo and the genocide in Rwanda.

He eventually left Europe, Africa and the AP to return to the U.S. and to break into magazine writing. Outside sent him to the North Sea for a story at an ancient Scottish tradition of city-wide, no-rules rugby. The New York Times Magazine hired him to track down a fugitive Mexican pop star named Gloria Trevi. And New York magazine had McDougall write a cover story about why America hadn't been hit by another terrorist attack since September 11. Men's Health empowered McDougall to explore physiological oddities, like a freethinking Frenchman who works out in coconut trees in Brazil; and the health benefits of old lumberjack saws; and of course, the Tarahumara.

Says Rick Broadbent, sports columnist for The Times of London, in naming Born to Run his favorite book on running, "McDougall is a beast of a man, standing at what appeared to be eight feet high in his heavy duty socks, which he favours over running shoes. His book covers it all - the great Nike rip-off, the curious fact that your 65-year-old self can run a marathon as well as your 19-year-old version, the Mexican tribe of indians who don't train or have training plans or recovery schedules, but do drink heavily and run 160 kilometres for fun."

McDougall is working on another book that he believes has as much great raw material as Born to Run.

"Nowadays, I do most of my own running in bare feet among the Amish farms in rural Pennsylvania, where I live with my wife and two daughters, plus a constantly expanding population of cats, turkeys, ducks and chickens," he said.

McDougall will first speak to freshman students at 11 a.m. to noon, in the Boehm Science Center, room 145, about Born to Run. He will then speak privately with students from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from noon to 1:30 p.m., then leading upper level students in a Writing for PR class at 3 p.m. McDougall will then be available for further talk during a book-signing at 4 p.m.

McDougall then leads a 5K Fun Run at 5 p.m. for students, staff and faculty on the KU cross country course, beginning at the Grim Science Building. The run is free and open to the public. McDougall will be on-hand to answer questions before, during and after the run.

The running continues this weekend at the Bear Tracks for Life 5K on September 22 which kicks-off KU's Family Day of fun, food and running.

Chris McDougall's website is