Last week as we monitored the news, we hung onto a hope that Micah’s disappearance would end well. Sadly, the news did not heed our hope, and the running community was struck with a wave of grief as we each learned about a fallen hero. It became clear to me on Sunday how many people Micah had affected through his running, teaching, and evangelism of his philosophy, Run Free. On Sunday morning, nearly all my connections to running communities were filled with friends posting photos, stories, jokes, and remembrances of Micah. Last year, I had the chance to interview him for this blog while we were running a promotion for the re-release of Born to Run, a book that brought Caballo’s story to more people than he ever would have imagined. I’d like to re-post this interview; it is un edited and captures a glimpse of the spirit of Caballo Blanco.
When Logan H. (aka Unarunner) first approached me about doing an interview with Caballo Blanco I thought, “how the hell am I gonna find that guy, didn’t it take months for Chris McDougall to find him?” I voiced my concern to Logan and he replied, “isn’t that what Facebook is for?” And wouldn’t ya know it, Caballo Blanco and I became fast Facebook friends. However, the stories of Caballo going sans internet for months at a time are true. I was lucky enough to catch him for a few questions while he was on a trip to the states following the Copper Canyon Ultramarathon.
Kathy S.: Can you tell us a little about who you are? A short autobiography…
Micah True (Caballo Blanco): I am who i am and that is who I am!
Kathy S.: For those of you that don’t know who Caballo Blanco (Micah True) is: he’s a friend of the running people, the Rarámuri. Caballo spends time running in the canyons of Mexico with the Tarahumara. His story can be found on runner’s bookshelves around the world in the book, Born to Run by Chris McDougall.
KS: I’m curious how you and the Rarámuri (both being recessive or introverted) have reacted to the sudden fame, post-Born to Run?
MT: I do not think the raramuri yet know the difference. I would say that I feel a huge responsibility to keep it real.
KS: How has Chris McDougal’s book changed your life and the Tarahumara’s? If you could change anything, what would it be?
MT: It has not yet affected the Rarámuri. None of them read the book, nor are even aware of it, and the last 3 years over 230 Rarámuri a year have come to run with us.
It has made my life much harder in ways; the workload and online time—and in ways has given me a voice. It is entirely up to me to make the best of the situation and I take responsibility for my own actions, happiness and life as it is.
KS: You talk a lot about light-footed-smooth running, but you’re known as a barefoot runner. Let’s set the record straight. What’s more important to you, running barefoot, or running efficiently? And what is your definition of efficient running?
MT: I never read much in the book about me nor anybody [but Ted] running barefoot. That message has been hijacked in the marketing of the book. Form and heart is where it is at. Light-footed running, and however one attains the feeling of light and smooooth. Even then, there is the beautiful story of the Czech army runner, Emil Zatopec, who had terrible form, “ran like Frankenstein,” in army boots. It is not about what one wears or not on their hooves. Just run free!
KS: There’s a lot of philosophy behind what you do, and not just running technique, or form. It seems that there’s an “ethic” that is entwined in how you run. Can you talk a little about more “meta” aspects of how you run?
MT: Be easy, be light, be smooooth and ya might just float above the crap that tends to suck us in and weigh us down. We have choice that makes us free.
KS: In Born to Run you’re depicted as somewhat of an …eccentric… person. Do you recognize yourself in this, or are you somewhat annoyed by it?
MT: Nobody I know sees me as described the first 50 pages or so. I did not even recognize myself. As the book went on it got better and more accurate with the exceptions of some liberties taken with my personal life without consulting me for permission or facts. Oh well. I am writing my own book: Born to Run Free: True Trails From The Horse’s Mouth.
KS: Some of our dailymilers have heard that the average life expectancy of the Tarahumara is around 40. What are your thoughts on longevity or lifespan and the seemingly healthy lifestyle of the Tarahumara?
MT: There is an extremely high infant mortality rate that off-sets the average age of death. Many Rarámuri live long healthy lives. When one out of every three babies dies the ones that live are likely to be healthy, especially running up and down mountains to chase down your goats and eating basically natural whole grain foods without a whole lot of calories. The Rarámuri are not “super-human” as depicted by some. They are very real people facing very real problems and issues, like all of us. We are all much more alike than different
KS: We’ve heard that you lost your, have you found him yet?
MT: Guadajuko, the little poop! Stressed his dad out, ended up in the dog pound near Phoenix, snipped and chipped—when I went to bail him out he was bummed; had jailhouse tattoos and walking with a limp and had kennel cough. He is running free now, the ghost dog of La Sierra Madre
KS: Where do you find the motivation to run ultra marathons?
MT: Easy to do what we love!
KS: What’s your favorite brand of running shoe?
MT: No faces, but I like cheap and light. Sandals are great and a true minimalist means “cheap”! I do like the New Balance MT [Micah True] 101′s—only about 70 bucks and low soled to the ground, soft mesh upper and light
KS: What’s your favorite energy meal? And can we get a recipe for the “super food” you must eat?
MT: Pinole! Breakfast of champions; finely ground and slightly roasted maize—a fine powder…good cereal and sports drink. Pure complex carbohydrate and sustained energy
KS: What is it like to run with Scott Jurek?
MT: Scott [el Venado] is a class act person and great runner
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