One foot at a time | One sole at a time | One hell of a good time


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon 2010

Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon CUMM 2007 (the second year for me)

Tomorrow, March 7, 2010, will be the start of the running of the 2010 Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon.  I ask all of you to send good energy to all the participants this year. 

To have been blessed to be part of this event has been life changing.  To have gotten a chance to come to know and love the Raramuri people and all the friends of the Tarahumara has been a true honor...a major blessing for me, adding richness and insight to my life in doses so large that it continuously boggles my mind and leaves me with a deep sense of gratitude and thankfulness.

Indeed the Raramuri culture of korima is something that touches all of us with its simple beauty and trust in the human-divine spirit of sharing and mutual love.  Let that spirit live on in all of us as we recognize it in our own lives and in our own circles of friends, family and colleagues...and other co-inhabitants on this incredible planet.

Someday, you too may be blessed to run in the Canyons, to meet Caballo Blanco and touch fingertips with Arnulfo or some of the other local legends.  In the meantime, you can always try and book a trek in the canyons with the ole' Caballo himself (see: www.caballoblanco.com) or support the Norwas de Raramuri - Friends of the Running People - non-profit founded by Caballo (see: www.norawas.org).

May the Raramuri continue to run free and strong...and you too.


PS.  The photo montage above I made in 2007 shortly after returning from my second year of participating, the year after McDougall came down, the year following the year covered in the book "Born to Run".  It is an amazing tribute to the beauty of the experience.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

As far as I know, this is the first ever public review of the book.

This is a masterpiece. A work on running that will define running for a new generation of runners.

Christopher McDougall asks a simple question: Why does my foot hurt?

His answer spans the centuries and brings us to the cutting edge of running revelations that are as old as our genes.

Our generation of runners have seen it all. Many today thinking that to run is dangerous and that the foot is a death-trap injury appendage waiting to happen. Makes sense, for many runners running today have never known of any other way to run than with big, overly cushioned orthotic boots...cuz our feet are no good and need lots of help, right?

Christopher tells a great tale using an obscure race and race director, a tribe of beautiful people and a rag tag group of ultra runners to weave a story that brings us to a place where rediscovery of our primal connection to running...free of marketing and big bucks and bad science...leads us to new possibilities and a change of thinking that is applicable to any human being wishing to locomote herself on two legs.

This book is at-one-and-the-same-time an adventure tale of impossible possibilities and a cutting edge running research journal entry.

Take a wild trip and read this book. You're gonna love it.


PS. The book I am reading is an uncorrected proof. Actual book to be published on May 7, 2009.

PSS. Did I mention I am one of the most garrulous characters in the book? Buyer beware.

PSSS. For the latest information about the race, i.e., the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon, be sure to check out Caballo Blanco's website here: www.caballoblanco.com you can read this year's race report here.

Link below takes you to Amazon.com to preorder ORDER:

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Link below to audio book preorder ORDER:


Now available Born to Run T-shirts

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Caballo Blanco Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon


Passing through the middle of Urique

Race report by Race Director Caballo Blanco see www.CaballoBlanco.com
Photos from Josue Stephens and Chris Labbe
Click here for all photos

Primary result: Beauty

The seventh running of the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon, and the fourth annual running of the CCUM in the Urique canyon had about 100 starters and 37 finishers. There is nothing quite like it, anywhere. I am just the RD horse. What do I know?

Leading a group to Los Alisos two days before the race

There was almost $6,000 in prize money spread among the top 10 finishers, $1,000 of that for the top three women, and all finishers split 30,000 pounds of maiz accordingly. ALL participants will also be awarded maize.

A big thanks to all who care enough to read about it, and especially to those who have participated over the last few years and have become Mas Loco!

Caballo Blanco

3--Isidro Lechuga--Piedras Verdes, Urique--6:49
4--Florencio Quimare--Ocorare, Batopilas--6:58
5--Arnulfo Quimare--Chepatare, Batopilas--7:11

6--Cervando Gutierez--Huisuchi, Batopilas--7:14
7--Antonio Luna--Munerachi, Batopilas--7:19
8--Silvino Cubezare--Huisuchi, Batopilas--7:32
9--Dolores Estrada--Huicorachi, Urique--7:35
10--Corpus Estrada--Huicorachi, Urique--7:36

11--Arnulfocito Mendoza--Santa Rita, Batopilas--7:42
12--Silverio Ramirez--Tatoguichi, Guachochi--7:51
13--Ignacio Nacho Palma--Chawaloco, Batopilas--8:04
First woman!

Second River Crossing

16--Leanardo Cleto--Piedras Verdes, Urique--8:38
19--Epitanio Quimare--Chinivo, Batopilas--8:52
20--Santos Reyes--Basiguare, Guachochi--8:56
21--Sebastiano Gutierez--San Jose, Batopilas--8:57
22--Sergio Mancinas--Urique--9:01
23--ABI STEPHENS--LA LINCE--OREGON--9:07---Second woman!
24--Enrique Moreno--San Rafael, Urique--9:09
25--THERESA DO--LA PALOMA--COLORADO--9:15---third woman!
28--Luis Cleto--Piedras Verdes, Urique--9:32
29--Jose Cruz--Piedras Verdes, Urique--9:32
30--Arnulfo Gonzales--GUadalupe Coranado, Urique--10:00
31--LEAH JUREK--LA ALMA HERMOSA--WASHINGTON--10:23--fourth woman!
33--Lorenzo Catsro--Guadalupe Coranado, Urique--10:31
34--Margarita Lerna--Panalachi, Bocoyna--10:38---FIRST TARAHUMARA WOMAN, fifth woman overall!
35--Jesus Perez--Munerachi, Batopilas--10:38
36--Carlos Concheno--Urique--11.00

Race Brochure in Spanish

Sunday, March 2, 2008 was just another beautiful day in the deep canyon country of La Sierra Madre.

On the previous Wednesday they came, 4 gringo runners and El Caballo Blanco walking over from the deep canyon town of Batopilas, encountering 14 Batopilas canyon Raramuri en route, and walking together over la Sierra then down into the 6,200 foot deep canyon town of Urique, where we encountered more Raramuri and the rest of the gringo runners, men and women.

There were 136 running participants, of which about 100 started the
47 mile ultra. 36 local townspeople and a few international runners
participated by running one of the two 18 mile loops with us, either
the first loop upriver, or the second downriver loop. Many excited
children ran short distances with us when we were entering and
leaving the deep canyon small town of Urique beginning and ending
each loop. EVERYBODY participated!

The ultra run finishes with an 11 mile out and back after the two
longer loops.

Out of the 100 or so ultra starters and 38 finishers, 15 were from
the United States, France and Italy, 6 Mexican runners from
Chihuahua, and one local Urique Mexican man, whom finished near to
last, and was awarded $100 for being the only towns-person runner to
do so.

First place went to a humble and relatively unknown young Oregon Man named Joe Grant-
-El Tortuga Lluvia--Rain Turtle. The 24 year old turtle does not run, nor looks
much like his animal helper. In Fact, the Turtle broke Scott Jurek's-
-El Venado, the Stag Deer, course record of 6:32, lowering the
record to 6:24!

Nevada speedster Josh Brimhall--El Antilope Desierto, Desert
Antelope, was second, followed by 8 Raramuri--Tarahumara runners
rounding out the top 10. ALL United States, and our new Italion friend, Franco--
El Aguila del Alpes, Eagle of the Alps, finished.

The first place woman was Amanda McIntosh--La Yegua Negra
Peligrosa, Dangerous Black Mare, from Texas and Leadville, Colorado. Amanda
generously gave her $500 winnings to the 3 Tarahumara women
participants. Yes, Raramuri women came, And the bridge between
running cultures has now been constructed and crossed by our lovely
Mas Loca women runners, acting as the messengers--Andale!

Josh and Joe also gave their combined $2,500 winnings back to the
Raramuri people in the form of sharing some of their winnings with
the 8 Raramuri rounding out the top 10, and putting the rest into
the CCUM Seed Farm--sustainable agriculture project we have begun in
cooperation with Native Seeds Search. Nobody had to do that; and
they Did!....Korima.

Theresa Do--La Paloma--Dove, won cash and corn by finishing 3rd woman.
Abigail Stephens--La Lince--Lynx, finished second and
won $300. Yes, we have prize money for the top 3 women. There was a
grand total of about 9 women ultra runners....not bad odds -:

As well as the cash prizes of about $5,000 for the top ten overall
and another $1,000 for the top 3 women--who have a chance to
double their winnings when taking a top 10 overall spot, a ton of corn is
awarded to each of the top 5 finishers, and a half ton to the 6-10th
place finishers. ALL finishers after that are awarded 500 pounds of
All gringos gave the corn back to the people however they wanted to do
so, and we now have to deliver, I can only guess at this early point,
about 30,000 pounds of corn....A horse`s work is never done -:

Thanks for mucho help and support in many ways from Chris Labbe-
-El Cabro Colorado--Mountain Goat, whom also printed up beautiful
calenders from last year`s race event and gave them to the Urique towns-people.

The CCUM is sponsored by this kind of generosity, called Korima in
the Raramuri language--sharing, a gift, unconditional and beautiful,
the reward for giving being whatever may come back around in the
circle. And what does, along with whatever else, is always beauty.


May the Raramuri and all of us contunue to run free.

Caballo Blanco de La Sierra Madre - see www.CaballoBlanco.com

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon - Week in Review

The above slideshow complete with Phillip Glass music was put together using photos from taken by several members of the Grupo Animales otherwise known as Club Mas Loco.

These photos cover the beginning to the end of the trip, including the hike over from Batopilas to Urique the pre-race ceremony, the race and post-race celebration.

Results from (www.CaballoBlanco.com) : The Ultra Marathon had 38 starters and 20 finishers.

1) Scott Jurek (33)--El Venado--Chumari'--Washington-- 6:32
2) Arnulfo (27)--Chepatare--Batopilas canyon 6:50
3) Billy Barnett (22)--El Rana Lobo--Wolf Frog--Virginia 6:59
4) Jenn Shelton (23)--La Brujita--Little Witch--Virginia 7:00
5) Manuel Luna (42)--Gavilana--Batopilas canyon 7:47
6) Arnulfocito (18)--Santa Rita--Batopilas canyon 8:00
7) Nacho Palma (42)--Quirare--Batopilas canyon 8:03
8) Martin Gallito (21)--Chepatare--Batopilas canyon 8:10
9) Leonardo Cleto (22)--Piedras Verdes, Urique canyon 8:12
10) Jose Hilario (22)--Piedras Verdes, Urique canyon 8:13
11) Sebastiano (37)--San Jose, Batopilas canyon 8:16
12) Mike Adams (38)--El Perro Grande-Big Dog-Washington 8:48
13) Micah True (54)--El Caballo Blanco--White Horse--???? 8:58
14) Barefoot Ted McDonald (42)--El Mono--Monkey--California 9:44
15) Charlie Crissman (38)--El Buho--The Owl--Washington 9:54
16) Chriss Labbe (37)--El Cabro--The goat--Colorado 10:02
17) Jamil Courey (22)--El Carnero--The Ram--Arizona 10:16
18) Deborah Bezanis (49)--La Cebolla--The Onion-Chicago 11:33
19) Samuel Warren (38)--El Girafa--The Giraffe--Washington 11:33

20) 36 miler: Leah Jurek (30)--La Venada--Dear--Washington 8:20


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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

How to Tie Huarache Sandals Part 2

A couple more videos showing the tieing of huarache sandals. Videos taken while participating in the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon 2007.


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Monday, March 12, 2007

Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon in Huaraches

Crossing the bridge at mile 10

My huaraches after the race

Successfully completed the race in 9:44, an hour better than last year. The entire race covers between 47 and 49 miles. Wore my hand-made, Vibram-soled huaraches for the entire race. They worked perfectly. My feet were fine after the race...only a little dirty!

I learned more secrets about the huaraches on this trip. For on thing, the name in Raramuri is akarache or akahuarache. Secondly, I learned a better, simpler way to tie them. Finally, I learned that most of the Indians use their huaraches in daily life as workboots etc. They are not particularly interested in a thinner sole. The Vibram soles on my sandals are only 4mm thick. You can still FEEL plenty and they are extremely flexible.

I like to put myself as first place in the division of gringos who ran the race with shoes that they made themselves!


PS. Photos by Chris and Andrew Labbe

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon - Walking the Course

This footage is from two days before the race. We all walked the first section of the course together.

Some of the walkers include Arnulfo, winner of last year's race, and Scott Jurek, winner of this year's race.

Having fun hanging out with our Raramuri friends.

After the hike, we had fun at a swimming spot under the bridge complete with diving.


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Friday, February 23, 2007

Bags Packed Ready to Go - Mexico or Bust

I stopped by Rick Wilson's office today and picked up about 30lbs of Clif Bar products that were donated to the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon. The green bag is filled with Clif Bloks, Shots and mini Bars and some replacement drink powder which I will hand over to Caballo Blanco for distribution to race participants. Thanks Rick.

Some of the other goodies that I am bringing with me include some Zombie Runner caps and some Vibram Rubber Sole material. These will be given as bonus prizes to the top finishers.

I am also bringing my video camera, so I fully expect to get some great footage of the beautiful Sierra Tarahumara, Mexico's Copper Canyon known as the Barranca del Cobre in Spanish.


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Monday, February 12, 2007

Bob Francis Memorial

Photos of Bob Francis at last year's Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon by Joe Ramirez (Luis Escobar's father).

Rest in Peace Amigo. Click photos to enlarge.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

March 5, 2006 Copper Canyon Run and Ultra Marathon

Scott and Arnulfo

Photos by Luis Escobar

March 5, 2006 Copper Canyon Run and Ultra Marathon:
Course description: Urique canyon version

Photo by Luis Escobar

Find more about this year's race here.

Race Director Micah True from http://caballoblanco.com writes:

In an effort to get more runners to come down and run with us, and allow for a quality experience for spectators, we have eliminated the previous EXTREME element of this run, which was a hard, very gnarly, potentially dangerous [and beautiful!], point-to-point, canyon-to-canyon run. I will still be offering this hike to back-packers, fast-packers, and runners, on private trips. No racing please!

The run will now be on a combination dirt road and single track trail beginning and ending in the plaza of the old town of Urique, running on rolling dirt road up and down the Urique river with diversions on single track trail up and down beautiful, lush arroyos [side canyons]. The race will consist of a 17 1/2 mile out and back loop up-river, followed by another 18 mile loop down-river, then continue up-river again on rough dirt road on another 10 miles out and back to the Tarahumara village of Guadalupe Coronado, before ending in the plaza of the town of Urique.

The Ultra Marathon version of the race will be about 45+ miles. There will be the shorter 17+ mile version and the 35 miler as well for those of us who may be a little less "hard-core". With this format, runners and spectators will have the opportunity to see the progress of the race as it unfolds, and the run will be much safer and easier to manage aid stations, with better access to emergency vehicles, etc.

The two separate trail sections will be beautiful, rolling single track, each climbing around 1,200 feet in about 3 1/2 miles, then descending the same, back to what would be considered unimproved dirt-road, beginning and ending in the town plaza of the deep canyon town of Urique, where we will meet in the evening for the awards presentation. The turn-around points will be the Tarahumara village of Guadalupe Coronado, up-river; then back a few miles across the river on a suspension bridge, diverting a few miles up the lush arroyo Mescalera on lovely single-track trail to another smaller suspension bridge before looping back to the town plaza of Urique; then following the dirt road down-river for almost 6 miles before crossing the river [IN the river], running cross-country up a rocky arroyo with minimal trail until spotting the narrow dirt trail leading up another 3 miles or so to the beautiful rancho "Los Alisos", where sweet, vine-ripened grapefruit abounds!

Runners will check in at Los Alisos, which will have radio contact to Urique, take aid and return [carefully!] on the trail to the river where they will cross and run back up-river to Urique at the 35 mile mark, take more aid, and continue 5 miles to the village of Guadalupe Coronado again, returning on what could at this point be some pretty good "death" hills, to the cheering finish of the race in the plaza of Urique.

Cerveza and Frijoles!

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