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Born to Run

Julia talks with Todd about people who run extremely long distances.

Todd: Well actually speaking of extreme sports, we're talking about extreme sports, have you heard about ultra-marathon?

Julia: I'm reading a book right now that's about a tribe of ultra-runners in Mexico and I thing it's gonna come on to the subject of ultra-marathons.

Todd: Yeah, I mean what has the book talked about?

Julia: The book talks about this very old tribe who can run for days.

Todd: Days?

Julia: Like days, yeah, and some of the members of this tribe are already in their eighties and nineties and they scale mountains and they have a very frugal diet. They run barefoot.

Todd: Barefoot?

Julia: They run barefoot.

Todd: In the desert, on rocks?

Julia: In the desert yeah, yeah.

Todd: Wow.

Julia: And they are bought, like they run from, well from they don't, as soon as they learn to walk they're running and they run their whole lives and they run like a hundred miles is just like a walk in the park to them. They just...

Todd: That's insane.

Julia: At speed, at speed, at very high speeds.

Todd: I mean do they have some secret, some traditional secret?

Julia: Well, yeah, they do, they're a very mystical tribe and they're not that well known. This, the book is written by a journalist who investigates and he records his story of how he gets to meet, just even finding them and meeting them is a huge ordeal in itself.

Todd: Because I mean physiologically it sounds like that's impossible. Like the human body can only run so far because it needs water, it needs food, it needs rest.

Julia: Well, I don't know. I think part of the philosophy of the book is that we're limited by our belief in that and that in fact this tribe don't have that belief, therefore they don't have those limits. They kind of surpassed those limits simply by they just do it. Nobody told them they couldn't so they...

Todd: They just do it.

Julia: Nobody told them they needed a pair of, you know, hundred dollar shoes in order to run. They just run, it's like it's a natural human thing and it's like an atavistic thing.

Todd: Wow.

Julia: You know humans, we can run down gazelle, we can run faster than hor..., I mean we can run further than horses and these creatures, creatures that we think have a running ability.

Todd: Are you sure about that?

Julia: Absolutely, yeah, yeah.

Todd: Really?

Julia: Yeah.

Todd: I've never, I've never heard that before that...

Julia: That's why, you know people who, it's quite dangerous to run with a dog for example. People who run and take the dogs because dogs can't run as far as humans.

Todd: Really?

Julia: Yeah. And dogs can't sweat. Humans can run and run and run for days, that's how they, that's how they killed prey when we were in the cave.

Todd: Before we gave up?

Julia: No, you can outrun an antelope because an antelope can only have short sharp bursts of speed.

Todd: Ah.

Julia: But a pack of humans can run down any animal on the planet.

Todd: That's good to know. If I ever need to kill an antelope...

Julia: Well yeah obviously you can't just, you know, stick your shoes on and set off and...

Todd: Wow, good stuff though. So, but would you like to try it some day, try one of these ultra-marathons?

Julia: I think it's good to have a goal but I like training for these kind of things and ultra-marathon, I just mentally, I don't know I have that ability to run for that far and that long. I'd like to have, yeah, I'd like to try and develop that stamina.

Todd: Yeah. I think we, maybe in my younger days but...

Julia: No, I don't think you do.

Todd: Or in another life but...

Julia: I think.

Todd: I'm gonna pass.

Julia: I think that running actually requires a lot of maturity so the older you get the better you are at running because you give up on stuff when you are young and your brain's quite, you know, you can't concentrate. You learn concentration and discipline and they come with age and maturity so I think we get better runners as we get older. That's what I'm banking on anyway.

Todd: Yeah, me too. I got that on my side.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson



The book is about a tribe of ultra-runners.

Ultra means extreme. Notice the following:

  1. He likes to run ultra-marathons.
  2. He is ultra-protective of his children.

walk in the park


It is just like a walk in the park to them.

When something is a walk in the park, it is not as difficult as expected. Notice the following:

  1. Passing the test was a walk in the park.
  2. Don't worry about the surgery. It will be a walk in the park.

huge ordeal


Meeting them is a huge ordeal.

A huge ordeal is usually something that is a long, difficult process. Notice the following:

  1. Replacing my credit cards was a huge ordeal.
  2. Getting a divorce is a huge ordeal, much harder than actually getting married.

come with age


Concentration and discipline come with age.

When something comes with age, that means you acquire it as you get older. Notice the following:

  1. Wisdom usually comes with age.
  2. Patience with children often comes with age.

bank on


That's what I'm banking on anyway.

When you bank on something, you count on it happening. Notice the following:

  1. I am banking on a raise this year.
  2. He is banking on getting into a good college.

Vocabulary Quiz

ultra • walk in the park• huge ordeal
with age • bank on
  1. Whenever you something, it usually does not happen.
  2. Changing your name is usually a .
  3. Maturity usually comes .
  4. He hates losing. He is -competitive.
  5. Buying a house was a . Much easier than expected.
Answer the following questions about the interview.


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