Caballo Blanco, You Will be Missed

Micah True, popularly known as Caballo Blanco, from Christopher McDougall’s extremely popular book, Born to Run, was found dead today.

According to the Silver City Sun-News, Micah left for a trail run four days ago and had not been heard from since. His body was found today in the Gila National Forest, New Mexico.

The cause of death is still unknown, but the legendary ultramarathoner was 58 years old.

I don’t know what it is about his death that hit me so hard, but it certainly did. Maybe because Born to Run resonated such an enduring chord with me. Maybe it was McDougall’s own decision to overcome countless running injuries to tackle the daunting sport of ultra-running (usually defined as anything beyond a standard 26.2 mile marathon, but mostly accepted as a 50 or 100 mile trail run). Maybe it was Micah’s secret identity as Caballo Blanco on top of Micah True being a chosen identity . . . long story short, his need to escape.

That’s ultimately what running is for me– an escape. There’s nothing as satisfying as outrunning all the day’s stresses by simply lacing up my shoes and heading out the door . . . no equipment, no worries, just me listening to my body and responding with action. I never had the opportunity to meet this great hero of the Copper Canyons, but such a part of me felt like I knew him, that I understood him, that we ran for the same reasons. Maybe all of my feelings can be attributed to McDougall’s excellent writing ability, but I truly believe that I met a kindred spirit in the pages of his book, and the body that once housed that spirit is now gone.

But the most enduring beauty of life is that the spirit lives on, and to celebrate the passing of this kindred spirit, I will be lacing up tomorrow at my local trailhead, and will make every effort to outrun the  sadness Micah’s death has stirred in me.If I can’t outrun it, I will run with it, like a companion who never judges, never criticizes.

Micah True, or Caballo Blanco, you will be missed.

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