Caballo Blanco, one of the main characters from Chris McDougall’s Born to Run, is missing. This is huge news. Most of you, like me were only vaguely aware of ultra running before reading Born to Run. Perhaps you had read Ultra Marathon Man. I hadn’t.
According to reports, Blanco, whose given name is Micah True, went out for a run on Tuesday morning near Gila, New Mexico, and didn’t return.
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I have raced the Copper Canyon Ultra-Marathon. It was my first ultra and it was a brutal sufferfest, however, I did get a chance to meet Caballo and can attest to the fact that he is the real deal. In some ways, it makes perfect sense that if he is to disappear, it would be like this. Off for a run, never to return. Climate, topography, remoteness, and temperatures, not too (okay, maybe topography!) dissimilar to his beloved Copper Canyon. At the same time, he is an iconic figure for the sport and is the essence of purity in running. It’s his reason for being and it would be a shame to see his bright light extinguished now. I’m writing because I feel helpless to do anything. Yes, I’ve lead searches for missing airplanes through Adventure Science, but this is different. This is a life and death search with real consequences. I also can’t just sit on my hands and watch this unfold. I know what needs to happen: highly trained endurance athletes, ultra runners, adventure racers need to be brought in to participate. Aircraft, jeeps, quads, even horses don’t do the thorough job that ground pounders can do. So, I’m contacting the search organizers in Gila, New Mexico and offering our help, and the help of runners. I don’t know how this will pan out, but I feel that I need to offer. I’ll keep you posted through the Adventure Science twitter feed or www.adventurescience.ca. There are a lot of tweets offering hopes and prayers, but only boots on the ground will result in a happy ending here.