UMCB, Urique, and running with our friends

UMCB, Urique, and running with our friends

A lot of things have happened in 2015. Some happy, some sad.

March 2015 was, in many ways, a terrible moment for everyone gathered around Ultra Marathon Caballo Blanco. For outside runners, faced with the reality of violence in Mexico. For Uriquenses, stuck between a rock and a hard place. For the Raramuri, who have high stakes in the event for the livelihood of their families. For local government, who had to react as best they could to an impossible situation.

In the midst of the chaos, a decision was taken. For better or worse, Urique would hold a race, even in the face of severe adversity.

Months passed before we could travel again and come back to Urique. In November, 3 runners made the trip down to the Barrancas, on foot, accompanied by a Raramuri runner. We had a chance to see our friends from the Urique Municipio and sit down for a talk.

Before anything was said, Daniel Silva, Urique's president, made a statement. "You, the runners who come in the Canyons, are an example to our youth, and a demonstration that there can be healthy, joyful, positive things revolving around an active lifestyle. You will always be welcome in Urique."

He went on to explain that the decision taken to hold a race last March, and to hold it again in 2016 and beyond, was based in large part on this positive, constructive example to all the people of Las Barrancas, and to its children, who can be inspired by the humble celebration of running and the bridge that is created between cultures. We, of course, agreed wholeheartedly.

So there will be a race in Urique in 2016. It will be organized locally, by the very people who welcome us in their town, on their trails and in their homes. And I, as nothing more than a Mas Loco runner, will travel down and run it, and so will a number of you, too.

Norawas de Raramuri will keep sponsoring and supporting ideas and projects emanating from the Canyons, and will now focus its efforts on the Kid's race, providing shirts, medals, prizes and donations for the children of Las Barrancas. We are also very proud to annouce that the Caballo Blanco Trail Project is more alive than ever, with the last segment from the Canyons top running all the way down to Batopilas now under construction. Both ourselves and the local people are very excited, as this is a new opportunity for adventure travel, tourism and events, but more importantly, this reopens an ancient Raramuri path for safe travels on foot between the two main canyons of the Barrancas Del Cobre.

Adventurers interested in traveling down for the 2016 event can get more information on the Club Mas Loco Facebook page, where they will also find advice and comments from experienced travelers to the Copper Canyons.

Our friends in Urique are also actively preparing the event, organizing accommodations and planning race logistics. They have setup a signup page for the race, and travelers seeking a place to stay can contact Cecy Villalobos or still make arrangements at Mas Loco headquarters, Entre Amigos.

The simple, humble message of running transcends everything, and resonates strongly with our friends in the Copper Canyons, sending ripples of positivity and hope. So, as Caballo Blanco himself used to say...

Eres Mas Loco?

 

 

Photo credit : Patrick Sweeney

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

Norawas de Raramuri’s connection with the Running People of the Copper Canyons is deep. The miles we have run together and the bond we have created through respectful encounters are all building blocks of a relationship that benefits everyone on multiple levels, as Korima, the beautiful Circle of Sharing, dictates.

Last March was hard for everyone. The local government had to struggle with a terrible situation, the international runners were faced with the reality of the Canyons life, local townspeople have suffered human and financial consequences and the Raramuri, like us, were caught in-between too many conflicting situations. Everyone was left with many questions.

But the bond between the Copper Canyons and the Mas Loco runners is stronger than adversity.

Last week, a few of us traveled down into the Barrancas for the first time since March, bearing a message of hope and peace, as always. Apprehensions and fears were set aside, with the focus being placed on showing everyone that we are all together in this, that we are all connected and that we will always have love and respect for the Canyons, its people and its beauty.

We were delighted to witness that everything seemed to have calmed down. The road to Urique is now paved all the way to the first outlook, past Cerocahui, at the doorstep of the Canyon. Heavy preparation work is even being done on the road to Urique, with segments being widened, storm drains being built and survey measurements marking several other locations.

We arrived at our friend Mario’s cabins in San Isidro, where our Raramuri friend Horacio was waiting for us. After a first outing up to the rim and down to his village of Porochi, we shared a meal and agreed to take off for Urique on foot, early the next morning.

The trail leading down to Porochi is gorgeous and we were delighted to see a lot of green and water trickling down the arroyos as we made our way into the village. We then walked to Horacio’s grandparents, who were going about their daily tasks. We were welcome like family, invited in and offered delicious fresh apples. We were shown the complete process of pinole-making, from picking the dried corn seeds to roasting them on the fire, grinding them and finally rock-grinding them on the metate into the rich, fine powder consumed as a meal and running fuel by our Raramuri friends and us alike.

After saying our goodbyes, we kept following the winding trail with surprisingly steep uphills that lead to the very brim of the canyon, then started our decent along a spectacular trail reminiscent of Grand Canyon’s South Kaibab Trail, winding down dramatic canyon walls and little valleys clinging to the steep slopes. The trail eventually connected to the main road, which we followed on and off in-between smaller trail shortcuts.

We emerged in Urique close to La Pista, the street-that-turns-to-a-landing-strip in the town’s heart. With the sun shining, the birds chirping and the mourning doves singing their quiet song, it immediately felt like coming back home.

We met with our friends from the Urique Government and discussed the coming race, which they will organize, and the activities that we hold dear such as the kid’s race, school support initiatives and, of course, the trail project so many of you are helping make a reality.

We met the architect and inspiration of that project, our friend Prospero Torres, who brought great news of progress and fresh new ideas for improvements that will facilitate adventure tourism while benefiting local people, in a true vision of ecotourism. We are all very excited about this and will share more about the specifics of the trail in the coming weeks.

Our short trip ended with a visit to a group of local ladies hard at work making delicious, organic pinole, and discussing potential new projects to celebrate this great staple and the Raramuri culture it comes from. Receiving such a welcome from a group of traditional women was heart-warming and made us feel like friends visiting friends, which Norawas is all about in the first place.

We came out of the Canyons smiling, satisfied and hopeful for the future, reassured of the bond we all share and grateful for the prospect of new beginnings.






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Remembering Our Friend Akabill

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Remembering Our Friend Akabill

Akabill Molmen was a Hawaiian artist, ultra runner, photographer and friend of many. He handcrafted thousands of clay amulets for the finishers of the Ultra Caballo Blanco, Born to Run and many other trail running events. We would like to remember Akabill for his friendship and contribution. We miss you Akabill. 

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Norawas de Raramuri - Current Projects and Race Status

Norawas de Raramuri - Current Projects and Race Status

With great consideration, Norawas de Raramuri (the non profit founded by "Caballo Blanco" Micah True and fellow Mas Locos) has decided not to host the Ultra Caballo Blanco in 2016.  We greatly look forward to returning to Urique in 2017. 

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Trail Runner Magazine Publishes A Feature On The Caballo Blanco Trail Project


This is exciting news: our latest project, the reopening of the Caballo Blanco Trail, has attracted the attention of Trail Runner Magazine, who published a feature about it in their most recent "Inside Dirt", a publication that reaches hundreds of thousands of trail runners all over the world.

We invite you to read and share the article, which includes the first-ever pictures and video taken from the trail a couple weeks ago.

This project has been made possible by your donations, and we invite you to continue helping us develop projects in the Copper Canyons that benefit the local communities and celebrate their beautiful running culture. Kuira ba!

[Click here for the full article]




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Friends of Norawas : Keith Ramsay

This series of articles pays hommage to our collaborators in the Copper Canyons. Without them, our projects with the Raramuri communities would be almost impossible. They invest their time and their hearts, away from the limelight, and help make our common vision of peace and sharing a reality. We present this acknowledgement as our humble thanks for all they do, and for being our friends.


Keith Ramsay is a calm, quiet man who, like Caballo Blanco, came in the Canyons with a vision and a dream. His was of a lush garden and a peaceful retreat, under the shade of fruit trees. He built a large property by the Urique River called Entre Amigos. Over the years, the place has become famous for its organic garden, its friendly people and the beautiful, simple way of life it offers.


Every year, around race time, Entre Amigos fills with familiar and new faces; Mas Locos and «hopefuls», or first-time runners, gather to enjoy some community time and prepare for the big day. Everyone is welcome to use the organic garden, which is ripe with leafy greens, beans, sweet beets and many other wonderful, healthy crops.


With his work, Keith has not only created a small Eden in the Barrancas; he also quietly promotes an alternate lifestyle, based on cooperation and simplicity, through his own humble example. He partnered with local people in the management of the property, positively affecting their income and their lives, bringing the dignity and pride of honest work.



As a supporter of the Ultra Marathon Caballo Blanco, Keith hosts dozens of Mas Locos in his hostel, private cabins and campground. He also provides Norawas with local, logistical support for our various projects. But most of all, Keith is a good man and a dear friend who contributes in making each of our visits in the Barrancas a fulfilling, joyful and meaningful experience.

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