Movie review – Run Free: The true story of Caballo Blanco

If you’ve read the amazing ‘Born to run‘ by Christopher McDougall, you’ll know something of the story of Caballo Blanco, also known as Micah True. (If you haven’t read this book, stop reading this post immediately, purchase said book from your preferred supplier and read it before you do anything else. You must.)

This documentary, available to download through Vimeo or iTunes,  is part travel documentary, part running documentary and part biography. It opens with a news report about Caballo Blanco broadcast shortly after his death in March 2012 which positions this documentary well – it was begun prior to his death with many interviews already complete but necessarily changed tack after his death.

Interviews with key players in the Copper Canyons Ultra event as well as Caballo himself are interspersed with footage of spectacular scenery, glimpses into the lives of the Tarahumara and film of the race. The various characters involved with the event are a little crazy but immediately likeable and draw you into their world.

Obviously, it is a documentary that will interest runners of all sorts as you won’t be able to stop yourself dreaming of running it yourself (even if, like me, you’ve never had any wish to run an ultra). However I think it does have a wider appeal. Caballo himself was a fascinating character as are the Tarahumara people and their stories are compelling in their own right. If you’ve read the book, you’ll feel like you’re visiting old friends but my husband (non-runner and definitely hasn’t read the book, despite my insistence!) enjoyed it without this background knowledge.

So, whatever your interest, it’s highly worth a watch. And it’s inspired me to go out in search of some trails….


born to run

I recently blogged about my running wishlist and was very lucky to get some of these for Christmas, including the book ‘Born to run‘ from my lovely friend.

Having just finished reading it, I’m finding it hard to put into words how I feel about it and how amazing a book it is. However, for the benefit of any of you who haven’t read it yet, I’ll try.

McDougall writes about his own experiences with running and injury – an all too familiar tale which I instantly identified with, as I’m sure every runner will. His quest to find the answer to the question ‘Why does my foot hurt?’ leads to an incredible tale about the Tarahumara people of Mexico. These incredible (but very real) people are perfectly evolved running machines, capable of running for days across all terrain and without the benefit of version whatever of your favourite running shoe.

McDougall’s writing style is concise yet descriptive enough for me to picture myself right there, with incredible ultra-runners from different worlds. Interwoven within the story is a plethora of scientific fact, both about the running in general and about human evolution.

In short, it’s an absolutely fascinating book (which I finished in 3 days but that’s because I was stretching it out, not wanting it to end) which has got fired me back up to run in a way nothing else has been able to. If you haven’t already read it, you must.

Of course, I’m now in a quandry. To try barefoot or persist with modern shoe technology which, so far, has done nothing to reduce my risk of injury. I’m definitely thinking of going for a more minimalist shoe and doing some more research about re-training myself in terms of running technique. And, if nothing else, this book has sold me on getting out to do trail running, away from concrete and tarmac.

What are your favourite trails? Are you a barefoot running convert or have an recommendations for minimalist footwear?