ARLINGTON, Mass. – Nine months after making its United States debut with a screening at the 2015 Boston Marathon, “Run Free: The True Story of Caballo Blanco” returned to the Bay State for a second viewing Tuesday night at the Regent Theatre.
The film has earned considerable acclaim throughout the industry, including a 2015 Spotlight Documentary Film Awards Silver Award, and an International Award of Merit from the 2015 International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration, and Equality. It also was voted the Best Mountain Running Film at the 2015 Ladek Mountain Film Festival, Best Film on Running at the 2015 INKAfest Mountain Film Festival, and Best Documentary at the 2015 Arizona International Film Festival.
The event, which was sponsored by the Trail Animals Running Club (TARC), was the 66th stop on a 100-city tour. A crowd of about 150 filled the theatre, including ultra-runners, trail-runners, road-runners, and those simply seeking to learn more about one of ultrarunning’s most colorful and mysterious characters: Micah True, the man known as Caballo Blanco, or the White Horse.
Prior to the film’s start, event promoter Garry Harrington asked the audience how many had read “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen,” the international best-selling non-fiction novel by Christopher McDougall that propelled True to fame. At least half of those in attendance raised their hands.
Those who’d read the book were treated to familiar faces throughout the film, including McDougall, Barefoot Ted, Scott Jurek, and Luis Escobar, as well as extensive interview footage with True. The film delved deeper into True’s personal history – much of which is still hazy – providing minimal insights into True’s childhood, but more detail about his time as a boxer and as an ultrarunner.
The film had two primary focal points: True explaining his love of – and need for – running daily and the sheer joy he found in letting his legs move him; as well as telling the story of True’s relationship with the Tarahumara people of Mexico, and his desire to start an ultramarathon in the Copper Canyon to help preserve the Tarahumara running tradition.
While “Born to Run” told the story of how True turned his grand vision into a reality with the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon, the film provided visual evidence of what the event – now known as the Ultra Caballo Blanco – ultimately became. The film featured extensive footage from the 2012 race, which took place just a few weeks before True’s death, as well as from the 2013 event.
After 12 years of peaceful runnings of the event, the 2015 Ultra Caballo Blanco was canceled just three days before the event was scheduled to take place due to violence in the area caused by drug cartels. The 2016 race has also been canceled.