If you have ever laced up the running shoes, gone for a run, felt a bit of exhilaration, peace, wonder, accomplishment and exhaustion all wrapped together, then you definitely need to read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.
The Hidden Tribe is the Tarahumara of Mexico's Copper Canyon, the Super Athletes are folks like Scott Jurek shown at the top running with Tarahumara Arnulfo Quimare, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen was the brainchild of Caballo Blanco, and it matched the top Tarahumara runners against some of the top US ultramarathoners in a 50+ mile race on the trails through the Copper Canyon.
Here is an interesting YouTube video about the Tarahumara
There are many reviews of McDougall's book, such as this one, that discuss not only the race and the runners, but also topics such as sports medicine and evolution. However, here I want to share a bit of what I learned about Caballo Blanco, aka Micah True, aka Michael Randall Hickman.
The first time that I had heard about True, Caballo Blanco, is when he disappeared. On March 27 of 2012, True went for a run in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. As usual, he was alone and was going for a long run - but he never returned. Here is a timeline of the search, and the New York Times wrote an extensive story about Caballo here. But the stories in the Boulder Daily Camera brought True's story closer to home because of Caballo's long-standing relationship with Boulder and the Colorado running community.
In the final chapter of McDougall's book, we read about the moment that Christopher had been waiting for - Caballo was telling his story about how he came to be the White Horse of Copper Canyon - his progression from Michael Hickman to the Gypsy Cowboy to Micah True to Caballo Blanco. Sorry - you will have to read the book for all of the details, but suffice it to say, you will surely find it fascinating.
What struck me most was this passage that McDougall wrote:
"When I get too old to work, I'll do what Geronimo would've done if they'd left him alone," Caballo said. "I'd walk off into the deep canyons and find a quiet place to lie down." There was no melodrama or self-pity in the way Caballo said this, just the understanding that some day, the life he'd chosen would require one last disappearing act.
"So maybe I'll see you again. Or maybe I won't"
And at the age of 58, Caballo went out for his last run, deep in the canyons, and found a quiet place to lay down and die.