If you have been around the running community for any significant length of time, then you have likely read, or at least heard of, the best selling book BORN TO RUN: A HIDDEN TRIBE, SUPER ATHLETES AND THE GREATEST RACE THE WORLD HAS NEVER SEEN, as well as the characters who were the focus of the story in it: Micah True/Caballo Blanco, the Tarahumara, and the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon now known as the Ultra Maraton Caballo Blanco.
Here is a great short film by Sterling Noren, from 2009:
In July of 2009, Micah and a few close friends founded the 501(c)3 non-profit organization Norawas de Raramuri, or Friends of the Running People. Unfortunately, in late March of 2012, Micah passed away while on a run in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. You can read about it here and here. Thankfully, Micah’s friends, including his girlfriend Maria Walton, and Fuego y Agua RD Josue Stephens, were able to pick up where Micah left off to make sure that his dream did not die with him. All of the Norawas board members are volunteers. None of them are paid for their work. The contribution of their time, energy and money from their own pockets is based on the Tarahumara concept known as “Korima.” The idea of giving what you reasonable can share, but expecting nothing in return.
Norawas has played a major role in supporting the annual ultra marathon, as well as other grass roots projects in the Copper Canyons that have directly lead to a major revival in the Tarahumara running culture. Thanks, in part, to the support the Ultra Maraton Caballo Blanco receives each year from Norawas, the event is able to give away several thousand dollars in prize money to the top finishers (international runners who place high will traditionally donate their prize money back to the community or a needy family), and several tons of corn, beans and other essential foods in the form of vouchers to all runners. The 2014 race had close to 500 participants, mostly Tarahumara.
A typical day in the life of the Raramuri:
I have had the privilege of running in this event twice. When I first discovered the world of ultra-marathons, it was reading about this race in Born to Run. To say that Micah True and the Tarahumara inspired me would be a massive understatement. The are the underlying catalyst for why the Fort Clinch 100 was created. Even the name of my company, Llama Running, came about because of the UCB. Every runners who goes down to the canyons gets an animal name, their Mas Loco identity. When I became a Mas Loco in 2010, I became the Llama.
The Ultra Maraton Caballo Blanco is truly a race like no other and the Fort Clinch 100 is proud to be a supporter of the event and Norawas. Please consider making a tax deductible donation through their website, here: NORAWAS.ORG
Caleb Wilson, FC100 RD
“WHO WE ARE
Norawas de Raramuri would not exist without the determination and the dreams of Micah True, known to the world as Caballo Blanco. By reaching out in respect and friendship to the Raramuri, Micah created a bridge solidly rooted between Running Peoples, in and out of the Copper Canyons. Our values, actions and goals all aim at honoring Micah’s memory and upholding his beautiful vision.
Norawas De Raramuri is only composed of volunteers who have at heart the values and well-being of the native families of the Copper Canyons. All the funds we gather go directly to the communities in a spirit of inclusiveness and sustainable development.
We do not see ourselves as providers of outside help. What we bring to the Barrancas, we do humbly, always addressing the Raramuri as true equals. We are merely messengers, sharing the good will, respect and friendship from Running People the world over.
We come from different countries and have different backgrounds, but are united by the spirit of Korima.
Ultra Marathon Caballo Blanco Co-Director,
President/Chair Norawas de Raramuri
Gilbert, AZ, USA
Growing up in the farmlands of Indiana, brought appreciation for the blessings of family, community, and honoring the bountiful gifts from Mother Earth. Raised with six brothers, running brought a sense of freedom. My family encouraged me to follow my passion of servitude with humility and grace.
As a Marathon Coach, I’ve had the joy of making a difference in the lives of others, one step at a time, as we celebrate this magical journey across the finish line, while raising funds for medical research to find a cure for blood-related cancers.
In 2009, a group of dedicated athletes established a U.S.-Based Non Profit, Norawas de Raramuri (Friends of the Running People), to encourage the running traditions of the Tarahumara/Raramuri families of the Copper Canyons of Chihuahua, Mexico. Through the opportunities gained from their sponsored events, the communities are encouraged to run free, and sustain one another through agricultural, educational, and nutritional support.
In 2002, through the simple dreams of Micah True, El Caballo Blanco, an Ultra Marathon foot race was created, to unite the running cultures of the Tarahumara Indigenous Indians, Mexican Nationals, and International athletes worldwide
With Micah’s passing, Josue Stephens and I have dedicated our hearts to continue this beautiful celebration, benefiting thousands of families of the Sierra Madre.
My sincere love for the music of Mother Earth, community, and poetry strengthens my spirit every moment I run.
Michael Miller, treasurer
Scottsdale, AZ, USA
Bookis Smuin, CEO of Luna Sandals
Seattle, WA, USA
Santa Maria, CA, USA
Luis Escobar is a professional photographer, distance runner, race director from Santa Maria California. “In 2006, I was fortunate enough to participate in the very first Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon. Like so many, I became friends with Micah True. Today, I am excited to be part of Norawas de Raramuri. Working together to continue the work of Caballo Blanco.”
Francois “Flint” Bourdeau
Montreal, QC, Canada
Mas Loco, long distance runner, backpacker, writer, and overall hedonist who discovered great truth in the words “Run Free” and felt a personal call when Micah True said, while running the trails of the Mexican Copper Canyons, “We are messengers.”