Wednesday, April 6, 2011

2011 COPPER CANYON ULTRA MARATHON - Mas Loco in Mexico

Running the 51-mile Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon in 90+ degree heat was only part of the adventure for four Missoula runners who participated in the 7th annual Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon in Urique, Mexico. We met the famed Raramuri runners, made new friends and saw some incredible sights. We spent some high-quality time running in the canyons and reconnecting with our friend, Micah True, the White Horse, Caballo Blanco.

Getting to Urique
Getting to Urique was all part of the fun. Rick Wishcamper, Dean McGovern, Kiefer Hahn and I met in Mazatlan and took a six-hour bus ride along the coast to Los Mochis, where we befriended some locals at a local cantina and sampled some Mexican beer. The next morning, after about two hours of sleep, we boarded the famed Copper Canyon Train, El Chepe, for a seven-hour ride through some absolutely spectacular land.

El Chepe has been touted as one of those must-do trips because it passes is the only way to see parts of the Copper Canyon that are otherwise inaccessible by motor. The train itself is very comfortable, with reclining seats, a dining car and a separate bar car.

Daisy the sheep keeps a close eye on Dean and Kiefer.
We were a bit surprised at the cost of transportation. The bus ride cost us each $35 US and the train was $85 US one way. The exchange rate was between 10 and 11.5 pesos per U.S. dollar but the whole trip was not as cheap as we envisioned. But the train ride, whatever the cost was worth the trip.

We arrived in Bahuichivo around 1 p.m. and exited the air conditioned train into a furnace set on medium. It was in the 80s and fairly comfortable. It would get much hotter as we descended into the canyon.

From the train station, we needed to get Urique, which was about 30 miles down the canyon by road or 18 by trail. Many of the gringo runners who arrived earlier in the week took the 18-mile hike as an organized group, but we arrived too late to participate. Oh darn. Luckily, Mario just happened to be at the train station when we exited. He offered to give us a ride for the small fee of 1500 pesos, or $150. This sounded pretty steep to us until Mario and another fellow explained that our only option was to hope that the bus to Urique actually showed up in about five hours. We pooled our money and decided to ride with Mario.

Although expensive, riding with Mario was a wise choice because he gave us a guided tour to the bottom of the Canyon and let us buy some road beers at a small stand alongside the road for the trip, which turned out to take 2.5 hours.

The beer helped calm our nerves on the road. Mario also stopped twice to give us views of the canyon and Urique and introduced us to young Raramuri runner who would kick our butts on Sunday. Along the way, we stopped at Mario’s brother’s house to drop off some drinking water. His family has operated a cattle ranch there for years, and Mario showed us all the places he liked to play as a kid. Mario was also an expert on local attractions, such as Yogi Bear Rock.We couldn’t find Boo-Boo.

The 30-mile trip to Urique took so long because the road to the bottom is THE road you envision when you read in the newspaper that a bus of gawking tourists died after their bus plunged off a third-world road. It was slightly wider than one lane and we spotted a few vehicle relics at the bottom of the canyon and several small shrines and religious crosses on the side of the road marking spots where people took the fast way down to the bottom of the canyon. But Mario was an excellent driver and even refused a beer when offered.

Mario dropped us off at our home for the next few days – Keith’s place just on the outskirts of Urique. The real name is “Among Amigos,” but we call it Keith’s.

Keith is a great guy from Oregon who bought some land in Urique in 1975 and just never left. He spends a few months a year in Oregon, but he has turned a small hillside into an oasis of grapefruit and orange trees, and has a garden of lettuce, beets, onions and many other vegetables. On the compound sits four small buildings, including his home. He rents out beds to travelers, and this is Caballo Blanco’s headquarters when he is in Urique.

We were lucky enough to reserve a room with four cots. Outside our door was a shaded patio and a communal kitchen that we shared with the other gringo runners who were staying at Keith’s. We set up camp in our new home, hung the Montana flag outside the door and Rick inflated the second sheep, a bow-wearing, red lip-sticked beauty named Eve.

The sheep took up residence on a small couch on the patio and quickly made friends with the runners.Shortly after we arrived, Caballo Blanco and Maria Mariposa (“the Butterfly”), who were staying in a small building next to ours, came to visit. We had not seen Caballo since he was in Montana last year, and we all gave him a big white horse high-five. We were all happy to finally meet La Mariposa because we had been communicating with her by email and Facebook for months about the race and the Raramuri runners. Caballo regaled us with stories about the logistics of planning such a big race and his interactions with a newly elected government. He was able to raise some $17,000 to buy corn for all the finishes of the race. Missoulians donated more than $5,000 to the cause when Caballo came to Montana to talk about his Raramuri running friends. Caballo told us that a Japanese film crew took over a hotel he thought was reserved for some runners. He was fine with the crew coming to document the run of a Japanese woman, but he was disappointed the film makers did not give more back to the Raramuri because the whole point of the race is to help the Tarahumara people. In any event, Caballo’s face lit up when he talked about Raramuri runners who were already filtering into town and explained that there were some very fast young runners who promised to make the race a good one. He also told Kiefer that he was considered a Chingon, which Caballo said roughly translated into big fucker. In other words, Kiefer was considered stiff competition in the run. And he certainly was.

For the next couple of days, we enjoyed Keith’s place and Urique. We met gringos from all over the United States, including fun people from Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Utah, California, and Ohio. We became quick friends with a couple (Mark and Sherry) from Lethbridge, Alberta, and Patt from Salt Lake City. We lamented with many of the runners from the north that we had done all our training in deep snow, ice, and temperatures around zero, and we were going to be running in the Canyon in 90-degree heat. Nobody was sure just how hot it was, but it was hot.
Urique is a beautiful town with one main street and a few other side streets. And we encountered dogs, cows and burros just about everywhere.Having all read the book “Born to Run” that featured an earlier version of the race, we had fun identifying people and places prominent in the book. We ate at Mama Tita’s (in the book) who served food family style to hungry gringos, Mexicans and Raramuri alike. She was a delightful woman who cooked fabulous food. Interestingly, she made sure people were fed, and her husband made sure people paid.
At Mama Tita’s, we met the Raramuri runner who finished third the original race against Scott Jurek in 2006. He was going to run again this year so we bought him a beer to slow him down. It didn’t work. He kicked our butts.

The Hike in the Furnace: Realization Sets In
We went to bed early on Thursday night because we were running on only a few hours of sleep. Friday turned out to be an eye-opening day. As part of the race activities, Caballo organized hikes along the course so runners could see the terrain they would experience on Sunday. The race starts in Urique and is divided into three legs. The first leg is 22 miles of road and single-track to Guadaloupe Coronado and ultimately back to Urique. The second leg is an 18- mile out-and-back through a small village up to a spring fed orchard called Los Alisos. The final leg is 11 miles and covers part of the first portion of the run. This route allows the spectators in Urique to see the runners three times and also gives runners the option of running 22 miles or 40 miles instead of the full 51.

On Friday, Caballo was leading the group on the second leg – up to Los Alisos -- and back. The Montana gringos woke up a little late and decided to join the hikers for part of the trip to get a feel for the trails and roads. There was a lot of discussion about whether hiking 18 miles two days before the race was a good idea or not, so we decided to go about ten miles. We ran two miles to catch up to the hikers and then fell in line with the group.

We introduced ourselves to runners we had not met and traded stories with each other. Rick and Dean decided to turn around after about five miles to save energy for the race. Kiefer went another mile and a half when he decided to turn around because he was getting sunburned. The sun was huge concern because somehow we lost Rick’s sun screen on the trip down from the train.

I continued with the hikers because I wanted to see the whole single-track section on this leg of the race, and I was having a great time talking with some new friends. At mile six, we crossed the Urique River on a suspension bridge. Caballo warned us not to have more than four people on the bridge at one time.

From there, the single track went up a dry creek bed and then switch-backed high above the valley. The trail was quite steep for about 18 switch backs, then it rolled along the side of the hill before turning sharply up again.

The trail was no rougher than anything we have around Missoula but the heat is an added factor that increases the difficulty by at least 10. Pictures of the vegetation around the trail confirm that it is hot there most of the time. And the canyon walls seemed to radiate heat in the afternoons. It was so hot that it was funny at times. I have never been this hot.

On this hike, we saw bright patches of green that stood out from the drab brown of the natural vegetation in the canyon. Of course, these were marijuana fields. There is some gold-mining work in the area, but there is not much else to sustain the economy of the canyon area. Marijuana provides a good cash crop to some, but the farmers really don’t make much money because the middle-men who funnel the weed into the states are the ones who make most of the money. In any event, the marijuana fields and the make-shift irrigation systems were a sight to see.

The turn-around point on this leg was a spring-fed grapefruit orchard. We hikers refueled on sweet grapefruit picked right from the tree. A spring was also there, and many people refilled their water bottles from it, treating the water with various types of tablets. Caballo told the group he regularly drinks from the spring without any stomach distress but said he couldn’t guarantee that we, with gringo-bellies, might not react the same way to the water. After having gastro problems at the Wasatch 100 two years ago, I was worried about getting gringo belly so I didn’t fill my water bottle. Instead, one of the other runners had some excess bottled water he gave me.

As people lounged in the shade of the grapefruit trees, I got antsy and wanted to get out of the sun. So, with half a bottle of water, I decided to run back to Urique ahead of the group.
Descending the single track section of the course was a lot of fun and I let gravity pull me down the hill at a good clip. I reached the bridge in short order and started down the road to Urique, which was six miles away. I had taken some healthy pulls off my hand-held water bottle but the water was warm …. No, it was hot….and my stomach was not accepting it well. I trotted down the road and realized that I was getting really hot. I mean really, really hot. The sun was high in the sky and was baking me. A couple miles later, I reached a small village and bought a luke-warm Coke at the tiny tienda and downed about half of it before the carbonation proved to be too much.

During ultras, I always have a Coke or two on the course to get the sugar and caffeine in my system, but I couldn’t even sip on this one. As I walked along the road, I offered the remainder of the Coke to a Raramuri gentleman who was walking the opposite direction. He gladly accepted it and drank it down with a muted “gracias,” eyes-averted of course. I trudged on, and with two miles to go, two runners from the hiking group caught up to me and gave me inspiration to do a slow trot back to town.

Once I got to Urique, I bought some cold water and started to recover. It was then that I realized that I had grossly underestimated the effect the heat would have on me. While planning for the race, I figured I could cover then whole course in about 10 hours. I had run several 50-milers, and the map and elevation change of this race did not look particularly daunting to me. Last year I ran the Big Horn 50-miler outside of Sheridan Wyoming in just over 10:30 and it had some 12,000 feet of gain. The CCUM had only 9,000. But after being on the course and experiencing the heat, I changed my goal from 10 hours to simply finishing the race.
I trudged back to Keith’s place to meet up with the rest of the gang. About that time, I realized that my lower lip really hurt. I stopped in the bathroom and looked in the mirror to find a big blister in the middle of the lower lip. We agreed that it was probably caused by the heat, which left my lips cracked. Dean theorized that some of the acid from the grapefruit probably irritated the cracked skin too. In any event, this was a problem that would plague me for the rest of the trip. From now on, I will be using lip balm with sun protection on all my races.

We decided to cool off by jumping in the river. When we arrived at a swimming hole, we saw a group of men in their underwear (Dean called them “marble bags”) trying to push an F-150 out of the river. Apparently, they got too close to the bank and sunk it up to the axel. We helped push the truck back onto the river bank and noticed the bed was full of car batteries. Soon, the men took the batteries and went on a little fishing trip, throwing wires in the river and then hooking them to the battery for a few seconds. Then a man with a swimming mask dove down and collected the stunned fish, throwing them on the bank where another guy quickly gutted and cleaned them. It was very efficient but would not pass muster with our Fish and Game Department.

Saturday was a rest day as people prepared for the race the next day. We spent some time wandering around the town and watched as the construction crews built the stage for that night’s pre-race fiesta. I spent some time in “gringo alley,” the alley next to a government building that had wireless internet. Most times during the day, you could see a gringo or two sitting on the ground or leaning up against the building’s wall trying to connect a laptop or handheld smart phone. We were able to connect a few times so we could send emails to family members to let them know we were alive and well.

Just down the street from Gringo Alley, the Raramuri were getting new Huaraches, the sandals made from leather straps and Nascar tire tread they wear. The Raramuri got them for free and gringos could get a pair for a small donation. It was fun to watch them construct their race footwear right on the street by outlining their feet on the tread, cutting the tire and then lacing them up.

Final registration was at 2 p.m. that day. That’s where we received our official running shirts with our race numbers. The shirts are sleeveless cotton numbers that most people wore for the race. Dean wasn’t able to make it to the final registration so we picked up his race shirt and number for him. Big mistake on his part because Rick the jokester signed him up as Dean “El Douche-o” McGovern. Should be interesting to see how the final results read.

Although we decided not to wear our official cotton race shirts during the race because we were worried about chafing, we wore the official shirts at the pre-race party Saturday night.
Starting at about 5 p.m., the pre-race festivities began with local officials taking the stage and making speeches we couldn’t understand. They also introduced the runners, not individually, but in groups of where they were from.

By now, the town was full of Raramuri runners in the colorful clothes. They stood or sat on the walls surrounding the stage and watched as several groups of dancers and singers entertained the crowd.

That night, we distributed about 50 Missoula Marathon t-shirts to Raramuri and Mexican runners and other folks. The marathon had hundreds of shirts left over from the 2009 race, so we each carried several in our backpacks to distribute for free. The shirts are good, technical fabric and we thought it would be fun to share them. We only saw one runner wearing a Missoula Marathon shirt during the race, but we saw several people walking around town in them after the race.

We did not have a dance party Saturday night. We were all thinking about the race and wondering what to expect. Kiefer, who has won several races, including the Missoula Marathon twice, had not decided whether he was going to “race” on Sunday or just enjoy the run. We were all nervous about the heat, and the pre-race jitters set in a bit. We went to bed fairly early and tried to sleep with those jitters.

The Race – Turn the Furnace to 11
On Sunday morning, we woke up about 5 a.m., had some food and coffee and prepared for the race. I decided to go very light, only carrying two gels, some salt pills we had borrowed from another runner and one-24-oz water bottle. Rick had a Camelback; Dean had a fuel belt; and Kiefer decided to rely on the aid stations for his needs.

The race was scheduled to start at 6:30 a.m. so we lined up around 6:20 and were treated with more speeches from the dignitaries and what seemed like endless renditions of the same song by a mariachi band. Finally, the race began at 6:34 and people streamed out of Urique toward the first checkpoint. Rick and I hung back and conserved our energy. The first ten miles were on a road to Guadolupe Coronado and the runners spread out quickly.

After a couple of miles, we came to a large bridge and the first major aid station that offered plastic bags of water and oranges and bananas. Among the volunteers were law enforcement officers (or military soldiers) armed with machine guns. We would see the armed guards along the course and at each aid station throughout the day. We were always very nice to the people with guns. We never did figure out precisely what their role was because it was surely was not to enforce the race rules. In America, it is safe to say that runners are supposed to follow the course, but throughout the day we witnessed people deviating from the official course and taking trails that offered a more direct route to the turn-around spot. At each turn-around station, volunteers gave runners a wrist band to prove that you completed that leg of the race. Racers are not official finisher unless they cross the finish line with four wrist bands. At first it bothered us that people were cutting the course, but then we realized that these folks were running for food. Each finisher gets 500 pounds of corn, which is incredibly valuable.. We were just running for fun and the experience. So, we cut them slack and just laughed when we witnessed something that would get a runner disqualified in the U.S.

On this first leg, we encountered our first stretch of single-track trail. It was rocky but well maintained. We climbed to the top of a ridge over numerous switchbacks. On this stretch, we started encountering Raramuri and Mexican runners who went out way too fast. It is true that there are some really great Raramuri runners but, just like us whities, there are great runners and not-so-great runners (or should I say, unprepared runners) Raramuri. We found a couple of young guys sitting under a tree looking pretty desperate, so we shared our water and salt tablets with them. Later we came upon a young Raramuri woman whose face was encrusted with salt. We gave her what remained of our water and salt tablets hoping she would make it to the next aid station.Just before the crest of the hill, we passed amarijuana farm. The smell was unmistakable. Cheech and Chong would have loved this place.

After reaching the top of the mountain, we had about five miles of screaming downhill as we lost all the elevation we gained as we ran back to Urique.

The heat and terrain were taking its toll on us too. Rick was feeling completely gassed and decided that he was going to drop out of the race when we got back to Urique. We talked quite a bit about the decision because with every DNF (did not finish) comes inevitable regrets. He decided that he had had enough, so, after 18 miles of running together, I left Rick and ran the three miles to town.

Urique was in full party mode when I ran back to the starting line. People were milling around; music was playing; and the streets were filled with people watching runners. As I filled up my water bottle, a spectator who knew the “Montana guys” said Kiefer was the first gringo and was in about 8th place overall when he passed through Urique. That meant that Kiefer was racing the Raramuri. YAY!!!!

I filled up my water bottle and began the 18-mile, out-and-back leg of the race. This was the section I had hiked on Friday so I knew that I had six miles of road before I would cross the bridge and enter the next single-track section. I decided to take advantage of the good footing and ran the first six miles pretty hard. It was on this stretch that I saw the lead runners coming back from Los Alisos to Urique. I saw about 10 Raramuri runners heading back to Urique before I saw the first gringos – Nick and Jamil Coury -- two brothers from Arizona who have run this race two or three times. A few minutes later, I saw Kiefer, who was bright red but running strong.

Watching the lead Raramuri runners was a treat. They have an incredibly efficient stride and seem to glide over any type of terrain. The lead runners were running at what seemed to be about a 6 or 6:30 per mile pace and I did not see any of the front runners walking the hills. Most were wearing the standard huaraches and I have no idea how they didn’t continually fill with sand and rocks. Also, none of them were carrying any water. Instead, they would grab a plastic bag of water and drink it on the run. Those front runners were impressive and I can understand why the author of Born to Run was so enamored with these natural athletes.

Just before I reached the bridge, bicyclist Nick was sitting with his bike in the shade. He had graciously set up his own little aid station and was giving fruit juice, coke, chips, and even toilet paper to all the runners. I downed two cups of mango juice and learned that Leal and Dean were only a few minutes ahead of me. This was strange because Dean is much stronger runner than I am, and I was not moving that fast. After about a mile, I caught up to Leal, who was speed hiking this section of the trail. It was incredibly hot at this time and she had a pronounced limp. The trail is cut into the sides of the mountain, and the canyon walls radiated heat. Someone had turned up the heat dial to 11. I know there were stretches that were at least 100 degrees.
When we reached Los Alisos, it was incredibly hot. Dean was sitting in a chair drinking water. He reported that the heat had gotten to him and he was having a difficult time. We ate some grapefruit and splashed our heads with spring water. Although I was reluctant to drink this water on the hike on Friday, I guzzled it on Sunday. It was cool and, frankly, I didn’t care at this point. The sun was baking us. We decided to leave the aid station together and limped our way back to the aid station at the bridge. Instead of turning right to begin the 6 mile trudge back to Urique, we went left and jumped in to the Urique River to cool off. I am not sure how long we were there but neither of us cared about our race time any longer. We just wanted to feel better and to get this sucker done. After our plunge, we ran down the road and caught up to Nick and Leal. Nick was pushing his bike as Leal limped along. Frankly, you could tell she was in quite a bit of pain and was moving incredibly slowly. She decided that she was going to end her race in Urique at the end of this leg. And she did. This young woman who had spent months biking and had never run more than 20 kilometers in her life completed 40 miles in the grueling temperatures with no running training. That’s one tough runner.

While we were walking, Nick told us that Rick actually had not stopped in Urique after all. Instead, he caught a second wind and ran to the bridge and up the switchbacks. But he was now in the hottest section of the race during the hottest time of the day and decided that safety was more important than finishing the race. He went back to the road and caught a ride back to Urique. He ultimately completed 32 miles of the 51-mile race.

Dean and I continued running toward Urique and entered a small village where we each bought a Fanta soda and some chips and sat in the shade. Dean was smart and sipped his luke-warm soda but I downed mine. I knew this was a bad idea but it tasted so GOOD. A young runner – Shawn from Salt Lake – caught up with us and the three of us headed for Urique. About a mile later, the Fanta and chips I had wolfed ended up on the side of the road. Although barfing is no fun, I really felt better after expelling that awful mixture of orange soda and spicy chips.

On this stretch, we talked about whether we should drop at 40 miles and forgo the last stretch because we were feeling so beaten. Shawn from Salt Lake was adamant that he was going to stop. (He ultimately went 45 miles before catching a ride to the finish). He had never run 40 miles so this was a PR for him. Dean and I wavered a bit but as we got closer to Urique, we decided to keep going. Dean said all we really had to do was run five more miles out of Urique, and then we had to get our asses home. So, with no choice but to get our asses home, those last five miles didn’t count. Seemed logical at the time, and we agreed to keep going.

Just outside of Urique, a group of guys were having a little fiesta and called us over. I ran over to see what was up, and they jokingly offered me a beer. They all looked surprised when I grabbed the Tecate and took a long swig and ran off with the beer. I offered it to Dean and Shawn. Dean took it and held the cool can to his face. Shawn said “no way.” I had a couple more sips but then threw the beer away.

We entered Urique, and I bought a piece of watermelon, a fruit that has saved me numerous times in past ultra races. Dean went looking for a mango popsicle. I caught up with him and he was bummed because the vendor was sold out. The watermelon energized me for the last ten miles.

Dean encouraged me to go on alone. My legs felt good and the sun was starting to go down, so the temperature was falling. But then a big wind storm moved through. Luckily it was short lived and soon I was running and feeling good. About a mile before the last turn around, I encountered our Canadian friends. I was so excited to see them, I stopped paying attention to my footing and tripped over an obvious rock and went down hard. I scraped my knee, my calf, my hip and my elbow. The worst, however, was that my left quad landed on a pointed rock and my whole leg cramped up. My friends helped me get to my feet and I took a couple of steps with hopes of stretching out that quad. It hurt. Bad. And I knew that if I didn’t try to loosen it up, it would just seize on me. I thanked my friends and trotted off (or gimped off) at the best speed I could attain. I got to the turn around, had a sip of water and turned around to get my ass home. Those five miles counted now.

I had two big hills and then some easy running and I would be done. I actually had a pretty good pace going up the hills and tried to lengthen my stride on the down hills. For inspiration, I put on my Ipod and listened to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,” a song that a few running friends sing when we are in distress. Pretty soon I am cranking down the hills and singing aloud and scaring the locals with my inability to hold a tune. I didn’t care. I felt good and motivated. By now it was dark. I could see the moon and the stars above the canyon wall but as I approached the river, even they disappeared. I used my Ipod to illuminate the darkest stretch but it provided a dim shine and I tripped a few times. But once I reached the bridge, I knew I had about two miles to go. And there were a few street lights as I got closer to town.

I ran into Urique and could hear the commotion of the finish line. Rick yelled my name and jumped up out of the shadows and ran with me to the finish, where a race official wrote down my number. I had finished just under 13 hours – my longest 50-miler ever. I limped over to the curb, and Rick put a beer in my hand. He understands the value of a replacement, recovery beverage. What a friend.

A few minutes later, Dean crossed the finish line. He too had caught a second (or fifth or sixth) wind and ran well over the last ten miles. We were finished.

Rick reported that Kiefer had “left it all out on the trail,” finishing as the third gringo overall. He stayed with the front Raramuri runners for 30 miles or so but the heat got to him on his way back into Urique from the bridge. He was hurting but he powered through the rest of the run in about 9 hours. We also learned many runners stopped after 40 miles because of the heat and only about 50 percent of the people who started finished the full course.

Raramuri runner Miguel Lara was the winner, setting a course record of 7:04, an incredible time for the terrain and conditions. Caballo had the pleasure of distributing some 60 tons of corn and more than $11,000 in cash awarded by the town of Urique and sponsors. Nick and JamilCoury were the only gringos to finish in the top 10 finishers, and they donated their corn and prize money back to the people of the canyons.

We told Cabollo to distribute the 1500 pounds of corn our finishes entitled us to. We asked him to use his discretion to give the corn someone who really needed and to tell them it was from the people of Missoula, Montana.

After our race, we limped back up the road toward Kieth’s place. Rick bought a bunch of tacos, and we took them back to the hostel and ate them with Kiefer. We all showered and went to sleep early happy to be Mas Loco in Mexico.

Conclusion
We had a great time in Urique and made many new friends from both sides of the border. The experience is one that we will never forget, and we have the utmost respect for the Raramuri and all the people of Mexico. Before we left, friends and family expressed concerns about our safety given all the news reports of violence in Mexico. But we traveled all over Mexico and stood side-by-side with Mexicans on busses, trains, and in bars, at street-side cantinas and on the streets of Mexico. Never once did we feel any animosity directed toward us, and we felt safe the entire time. We sincerely hope that Caballo and the people of Urique continue the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon tradition and that gringos continue to join in the celebration of running in the Copper Canyon to become Mas Loco. You will not regret it.
~Kevin Twidwell

2 comments:

Jorge said...

Really great post! I've heard about the race but never seen pics of it. I must say visiting Copper Canyon and the train Chepe is certainly one of the best things I’ve ever done. I leave some links about the Chepe that maybe can interest you:
www.chepe.com.mx
www.facebook.com/ChepeOficial

La Mariposa Apache said...

I FINALLY am catching up on past memories of the magic of the Copper Canyons! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. I ADORE my Missoula Mountain Men. My Mariposa blessings are with you always. May we continue to run Happy & Free, on this, our beautiful Mother Earth. Maria