The Race Director, Caballo Blanco, called us the Dream Team! Most likely because of the unbelievable running talent all crammed into a 1960 school bus headed for the depths of the Copper Canyon. For me, Dream Team meant something else. I was living my dream of running and learning from the famed Tarahumara Indians. I have "tried" to study these runners for years, finding tidbits here and there, hearing stories about the '94 Leadville race. So when Chris McDougall asked if I would be interested in coaching him as part of a book about these great runners and participate in the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon (CCUM), I jumped!
First I had the task of preparing Chris for the race, his first 50 miler. His preparation could not have gone better thanks to his devoted training and trust in "my way". As this first unfolded, the plan was for Chris and I to head down to the Copper Canyon, hook up with Caballo Blanco, the race director of the CCUM, and run the race with the Indians. As we got closer to the race and our departure, The Dream Team was formed. Now, Scott Jurek, Jenn Shelton, Billy Barnett, Luis Escobar, and Barefoot Ted were all planning to meet Chris and I in El Paso, and head to the Copper Canyon.
Well, the book is finally out, Born to Run. So instead of recount our adventure in words, go read the book. What I thought I would do however, is to chronical our journey with some images that might create an intimate feel to the masterful words of Chris McDougall.
The Dream Team riding on top of the bus on our way to Batopilas
The view from the back of the bus
Somewhere down there is Batopilas....way down there!
Touching down in Batopilas, Jenn immediately makes friends!
Once we had our first night of sleep in the Town of Batopilas, we hit the trails with Caballo. The next few images are of this first trail run. After much travel, it was needed!
Thats Caballo, Scott, Jenn, and Billy
Billy running the rugged trails of the Batopilas Canyon
Chris and Luis all ears for Caballo "speak"
Great shot from the Batopilas Canyon
Copping some shade
After our stay in Batopilas, we prepared for our 30 mile journey up and over the canyon and into Urique. The anticipation was mounting, as we would welcome the indians of the Batopilas tribe to make the trek with us and "show us the way" to Urique. Below is our sherpa burro, as we loaded all of our gear onto the burro for transport to Urique.
Stay tuned for Part II - The Trek