Sunday, March 1, 2009 was just another beautiful day in the deep canyon
country of la Sierra Madre. On Wednesday they began to come, 5 international
runners and el Caballo Blanco hiking from the Rancho Del Oso, located in a
juniper, oak and pine covered valley above and between the rim of the Urique
canyon and the train station. We hiked out of the valley 1,300 feet in about 6
miles, then down....down...down 5,000 feet on some wider trail, single-track and
almost no track, very rocky in places, to arrive in the deep canyon pueblo
of Urique, where we encountered 45 Raramuri [Tarahumara runners] that had hiked
over the mountains from their homes in the Batopilas canyon, calmly sitting and
waiting, practicing: "The Tarahumara stretch", which consists of lying around,
doing nothing, totally relaxed.
By the Saturday evening fiesta and presentation of runner's tank-top race jerseys with numbers, we had over 200 participants, 8 from the United States, a French-man and Hiroki [el Dragon de Japon]; most of the over 200 entered were Tarahumara, from all parts of La Sierra Madre, representing all of the four municipales [counties] that make up the Copper Canyon region of Chihuahua, Mexico.
There was live music performed by Tarahumara professional musicians..
Sunday morning was announced by the many roosters crowing. The RD, Caballo Blanco, did not have to worry about awaking on time, because he had not slept [all week]. He would sleep when it was over.
It was a beautiful race/run in which everybody involved was able to actively participate and see the progress of the race as it unfolded, due to the format of out and back loops, up river and down. Each loop had an added trail extension climbing 1,500 feet or so up lovely side canyons. The course is mostly rough dirt road with the extensions being lovely trail, some rocky and narrow, the Los Alisos loop 7 miles total of trail extension is absolutely gorgeous! I had the opportunity while trotting along, to encourage all "Bien Hecho" [well done].
104 runners finished the 47 mile ultra marathon to win the minimum 500 pounds of corn awarded to ALL finishers. All "Gringo" participants finished the 36 1/2 mile version at least, With Tom Masterson, from Canada and Boulder [el Marmot] finishing the 47 miler in just under 12 hours to win, and give away his corn. Bien Hecho!
Places 6-10 won over $200 dollars and a half ton of corn.
Places 1-5 won a ton of corn each.
First place won 30,000 pesos-- over $2,000.
Second place: 20,000 pesos [$1,500]
Third place: over $1,000 dollars
fourth place: Over $600 dollars
fifth place: Over $350 dollars.
There were 7 beautiful Mukiras [Raramuri women] running, and they all won excellent prize money and maiz [corn]. Lucilla, the local health clinic worker, finished the race in 14 hours, showing why women are tougher!--:] She won cash and corn.
We had one "gringa" woman run with us this year, compared to the eight we had last year, [Thank you Vicky!], and we hope to have many more again next year!
The international winners ALL gave their corn back to the Raramuri and local people in whatever form they chose. The race winner, Will Harlan [El Chivo], gave all of his cash and corn to the first Raramuri, third place Arnulfo, saying that Arnulfo was the "True" champion, not having the luxury nor means to be able to train, covering ultra distances in daily life wearing Huarache sandals just to work and live, tending his goats. When Arnulfo was asked by the press what he was going to do with all the money he had won, he said "Comprar chivas" [buy goats]....It was very beautiful that the winning "Chivo" [goat] would choose that spirit animal as his helper--:]
Everybody won a wonderful experience. The participating Tarahumara runners were all fed and housed during their stay in Urique, treated with respect, like champions.
The "gringo", international runners interacted with all like the brothers and sisters we are.
Everybody and anybody who participated in the 2009 CCUM [Copper Canyon Run], in any way, shape, or form, was sure to have left the deep canyon country knowing that we are ALL winners. To run free in peace and harmony, to act out of love and KORIMA [Raramuri word meaning: sharing], transcends the negativity, greed and violence that has become and remains all too common.
May the Raramuri and ALL of us continue to run free.
1. Will Harlan [el Chivo[ North Carolina--6:38:51
2. Hiroki Ishikawa [El Dragon] Japan--6:45:48
3. Arnulfo Quimare--Munerachi, Batopilas--7:05:36
4. Juan Quimare--Munerachi, Batopilas--7:11:22
5. Silverio Morales--Guachochi--7:14:03
6. Florencio Quimare--Ocorare, Batopilas--7:17:40
7. Luis Cleto--Piedras Verdes, Urique--7:19:22
8. Roberto Salinas--Guachochi--7:27:30
9. Selvando Gutierrez--Munerachi, Batopilas--7:34:15
10 Jamil Coury [El Carnero] Arizona--7:39:05
10. Nick Coury [El Aguila] Arizona--7:39:05