Caballo Blanco Race Canceled for Drug Violence

Police officers nearby killed, kidnapped

Mar 4, 2015
Outside Magazine
copper-canyon-ultra-marathon ultra-marathon ccum copper-canyon mexico shawn urique

A police officer was kidnapped and two people were executed near Urique, where the Caballo Blanco Ultramarathon is headquartered.    Eli Duke/Flickr

The Ultramaraton Caballo Blanco—a 50-mile trail run through Mexico’s Copper Canyons founded by late ultrarunner Micah True (aka Caballo Blanco) to benefit the indigenous Tarahumara people—was canceled due to drug-related violence near the town of Urique, where the race is headquartered. The ultra was slated to happen on Sunday, but organizers called it off Saturday evening.

According to Blue Ridge Outdoors and Trail Runner, Mexican authorities reported that a municipal police commander was allegedly kidnapped and two officers were executed outside Urique last week. About 100 participants showed up for the 13th edition of the race, made famous by Outside contributor Chris McDougall’s 2009 book, Born to Run. The book is currently being adapted into a film, in which Matthew McConaughey will play Caballa Blanco.

Race co-director Josue Stephens told Trail Runner that the Mexican military arrived on Saturday to offer protection for runners along the racecourse, but the organizers called it off due to safety concerns, as announced on the race’s Facebook page. Most runners left on Sunday, but some—mostly Mexican nationals, Urique locals, and Tarahumara runners, according to Trail Runner—ran a shorter, modified course.

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