Micah True, also known as Caballo Blanco, was found dead in the New Mexico wilderness yesterday. He had departed Tuesday morning on a trail run in the Gila Wilderness and never returned. After massive search and rescue operations were launched, his body was found five miles from the trailhead. A cause of death has not yet been determined, but no trauma was immediately visible.
Micah singlehandedly brought attention to the Tarahumara’s prowess and plight. He lived in the canyons for two decades, following in the footsteps of the Tarahumara and learning their values, traditions, and ways of simple living close to the land. For ten years, he has been organizing the Copper Canyon Ultramarathon to bring together Tarahumara and international runners in a shared journey through the deepest canyons on the continent. The race—and Micah himself —were made famous by Christopher McDougall’s bestselling Book, Born to Run. Despite all of the fanfare, Micah remained humble, generous, and devoted to the Tarahumara. He used the book’s popularity to raise even more prize money and corn for the Tarahumara runners this year.
I saw Micah three weeks ago at the 2012 Copper Canyon Ultramarathon. He was the happiest I had ever seen him. He seemed to have a tranquility and centeredness, even as record numbers of Tarahumara descended on Urique to run the race. He ensured that every single one of them went home with food.
The Tarahumara people have lost a close friend, and so have I. The best way I can honor Micah’s legacy is to devote even more of my energy to helping the Tarahumara people protect their ancestral canyons and ways of life. (To learn how you can help, visit barefootfarm.org or norawas.org).
But for now, I’m going for a run, and I’ll be thinking about Micah. I hope you can dedicate a few of your miles and thoughts this week to a true friend of the Tarahumara. Micah, you will be deeply missed. Run free, amigo.