Reflections of Micah, from our friend, Robert

Scanning the crowd at the Leadville Trail 100 pre-race briefing in 1987 my eyes paused on a striking, tall, long-haired character wearing a “I Support Woman’s Athletics” t-shirt. As if by gravitation, my wife Jean Ward and I introduced ourselves to the free spirit with the unique name of Micah True. Jean and I had just returned to the U.S. from three years in New Zealand and were living near Nederland, Colorado. Micah informed us that we were nearly neighbors and suggested getting together soon for running adventures. So began a friendship I cherished deeply over the years and I am so thankful to Micah for being part of my life.

While I was unable to complete the 1987 Leadville race, Micah finished 10th and was the subject of quite a bit of media attention. He was asked about the whereabouts of his dog, a crowd favorite. Micah reported that True Dog was recovering from a fight with a cougar. Such was fodder for True myth.

It rained quite a bit at that race and Micah wore a poncho fashioned from a trash bag. Marathoner Frank Shorter, who was color commentator for the race film, made a disparaging comment in regard to Micah’s rain gear. Micah replied that it was “just as good as Frank Shorter gear, but a hell of a lot cheaper”.

Jean and my first social rendezvous with Micah was at his home off of Magnolia Road. From a small pull off we followed a faint trail that led to a tent he shared with True Dog. Truly Micah was living a Thoreau-like existence where material possessions were minimized relative to life experience. Among the prized possessions he did have was a yellowing newspaper clipping chronicling his kick boxing days where he was known as the “Gypsy Cowboy”. 

After many a mountain run we would retire to Neo’s in Nederland for massive calzones and hearty conversation. Micah told how he paid expenses by moving people (both physically and spiritually as it turned out). That work provided him with sufficient funds to spend about half the year in Guatemala. Struck by his tall stature, long blond hair, and persistent running, the Guatemalans named him “El Caballo Blanco”.

One powerful memory I have of a conversation on one of our runs was Micah’s response to my voicing a shared passionate desire to run for many, many years to come. He replied that at 33 we were “pups among ultrarunners”. I have often thought of those words as I progressed from puppyhood to old dog status. 

Jean and I left Colorado late in 1987 and moved to Oregon, then Montana, and then Alaska where we have lived for 20 years. Over those years we only visited with Micah a few times, seeing him at races. However, the connections of the heart remained strong and Micah and I shared periodic emails speaking of the possibility of my joining him on adventures in the Copper Canyon and his visiting Jean and I in Alaska. Regrettably, neither of those possibilities came to pass.

I miss you Caballo Blanco. Your spirit will forever burn brightly in me and all you have touched. Until we meet again my brother…