University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Special Event Celebrates Bestselling Author's New Book Exploring World War II Resistance Fighters
and Ancient Greek Athletic Practices Thursday, April 23, 6:00 pm

97803075949691PHILADELPHIA, PA 2015—Christopher McDougall, the bestselling author of Born to Run, believes that there is an athletic, immensely capable ancient Greek hero inside of us all—and he's coming to the Penn Museum to inspire us to make first contact.

On Thursday, April 23, the author, journalist and running advocate with a passion for exploring the limits of human potential offers up a special cabaret-style program to celebrate his newest book, Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance (Alfred A. Knopf publishers, on sale from April 14, 2015). The program, Natural Born Heroes, begins at 6:00 pm in the Museum's Harrison Auditorium. Tickets, which include copies of the new hardcover book, are available online in advance or at the door while supplies last: $35; $30 Penn Museum members. A book signing follows the event.

Everyone is invited to a 5:00 pm free fun run with the author. For run details, go to

Discovering the Natural Born Heroes

Researching his newest book, McDougall traveled to the Mediterranean, where he discovered that the secrets of ancient Greek heroes are still alive and prospering on the island of Crete—and ready, he found, "to be unleashed in the muscles and minds of casual athletes and aspiring heroes everywhere."

"In my new book," McDougall notes, "I examine how ancient Cretan practices dating back to the Minoans may have been the reason the Cretan Resistance in World War II was so astonishingly successful." Remarkably, many of these traditions are still in use today by some of the world's top athletes, including Ironman triathletes, who have rediscovered the old Cretan art of using body fat as performance fuel; mixed-martial artists who rely on the same techniques that Theseus used to defeat the Minotaur, as ritualized in the wrestling art of pankration; and even the Minoan ritual of bull jumping transformed into the underground art of Parkour.

The Penn Museum is the ideal place to uncover natural born heroes. Penn Museum's Worlds Intertwined: Etruscans, Greeks, and Romans suite of galleries features Minoan artifacts, as well as a selection of ancient Greek artifacts that depict ancient athletics and Olympic championship sports.

A Cabaret of Modern-Day Experts

For the special event, McDougall has invited a diverse group of people to talk and demonstrate how the secrets of the ancient Greek hero can be applied today:

*Dr. Julie Angel, Parkour and Freerunning specialist

*Tara Wood, creator of Wildfitness

*Liz Miele, stand-up comic and marathon runner

Christopher McDougall

McDougallGoatTrained as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, Christopher McDougall covered wars in Rwanda and Angola before writing his 2009 international bestseller, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (currently being made into a movie starring Matthew McConaughey). His fascination with the limits of human potential led him to create the Outside magazine web series, "Art of the Hero," based on material he uncovered by researching his most recent book, Natural Born Heroes. A three-time National Magazine Award finalist, his writing has appeared in Esquire, New York Times Magazine, Men's Journal, New York and Men's Health. He lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with his family.

Preamble: The 5:00 pm Fun Run

The free, 40-minute fun run with Christopher McDougall, rain or shine, begins 5pm and ends at the Penn Museum. Everyone is invited.

A Note about Transportation and Parking

Due to a special event at Penn (Penn Relays), across the street, the area around the Museum may be congested, and guests should plan on extra travel time. Public transportation options are suggested; if driving, check alternative parking on Penn's campus or the nearby Campus Park & Ride option, to avoid possible delays.


About the Penn Museum

The Penn Museum (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 300 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world. With an active exhibition schedule and educational programming for children and adults, the Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind's collective heritage.

The Penn Museum is located at 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (on Penn's campus, across from Franklin Field). Public transportation to the Museum is available via SEPTA's Regional Rail Line at University City Station; the Market-Frankford Subway Line at 34th Street Station; trolley routes 11, 13, 34, and 36; and bus routes 21, 30, 40, and 42. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and first Wednesdays of each month until 8:00 pm, with P.M. @ PENN MUSEUM evening programs offered. Closed Mondays and holidays. Admission donation is $15 for adults; $13 for senior citizens (65 and above); free for U.S. Military; $10 for children and full-time students with ID; free to Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger.

Hot and cold meals and light refreshments are offered to visitors with or without Museum admission in The Pepper Mill Café; the Museum Shop and Pyramid Shop for Children offer a wide selection of gifts, books, games, clothing and jewelry. Penn Museum can be found on the web at For general information call 215.898.4000. For group tour information call 215.746.8183.


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