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The Tarahumara Racing Tribe of Copper Canyon Mexico have long been famous as perhaps the finest ultra long distance runners in human history. This was never proven until The Tarahumara Racing Team entered the Leadville Trail 100 Race in 1993 and 1994 and the Angeles Crest Trail 100 race in 1997. From the extensive race records compiled by the Tarahumara 1993-1997 we can now know what the Anasazi, Apache, Aztec and Inca, all historically famous runners, as well as many other Native American tribes could easily have run the 100 mile distance at high altitudes and over very rugged terrain in seventeen to twenty two (17-22) hours. Even less talented, older, younger and women Indian runners could have covered these distances in less than thirty (30) hours. This is now clearly validated for the Tarahumara Racing Team historical record in the USA and the 1990's. 


Richard D. Fisher, as the coach and sponsor said, "I believe from my in-depth experience spanning 2 decades with these Indian runners at the 100 mile distance, that fast times would be around 15-16 hours for the most elite prehistoric Indian tribal racers and messengers like the Inca, Aztec,  Anasazi and Apache.  

The Tarahumara Racing Team and sponsors Kit Williams and Richard D Fisher 1993

Archaeologist and Historians, you can bank on this information for your time and travel distance studies.  This is documented scientific data, on the stop watch and on very well documented terrain, and is as good as it gets data. 

At last now the fastest times were historically recorded at three races at Leadville Trail 100 in 1993 &1994 and the Angeles Crest 100 in 1997. While these fine Native American Racers had many adventures and mis-adventures, as might be expected, now historical records give us a very good idea of the ancient historically unrecorded Anasazi, Apache, Aztec and Inca running and distance travel abilities. As such, these Tarahumara Indian runners of 1993 - 1997 are an outstanding and lasting tribute to the Native American racers of recent times as well as Indian runners of old.

The History of Native American endurance running

1993 - 1997

From 1992 - 1998 approximately 35 Tarahumara Native American runners entered about 8 Ultra Marathon races in the USA. Eighty five perscent of the Indians runners finished the grueling races, most finishing in the top ten, winning four out right, and setting records in two. Also recognized is the oldest and youngest winners of any Ultra Marathon still today and the youngest winner and recored setter as well as youngest finisher ever recorded. An incredibly diverse and talented tribal athletes. A true record to be proud for Native Americans as well as all who love them. It must be noted that had virtually no funding, their families were starving and they had no education as to the form of "white man's" running style, very different from their own. They had no protections from various kinds of abuse applied trying to prevent them from winning and especially setting records.

The Leadville Trail 100 1993 

1rst place - Victoriano Churro, 55, Tarahumara, 20:03:33. 
The oldest winner of any Ultra 100 in history

2nd place - Cerrildo Chacarito,   38, Tarahumara, 20:43:06
5th place  -  Manuel Luna,            30, Tarahumara  21:26:09
60th place Benjamine Nava,        21, Tarahumara   27:45:49

Benjamine was the youngest finisher in history for an international 
100 mile Ultra Marathon race.

The Leadville Trail 100 
1st place - 1994 Juan Herrera, 25, Tarahumara  17:30:42
Leadville was the venue for the USA debut of the Tarahumara runners of the Tarahumara Racing Team the first winning team ever 
organized for the tribe by thier coach and sponsor Richard D. Fisher.  Tarahumara teams competed in the Leadville 
Trail 100 in 1993 and 1994 and won the event outright both years. In 1993, Victorian Churro a slender 55 year old  came in first,
followed by teammate Cerrildo Chacarito in second. Twenty five year old Juan Herrera won in record time of 17:30:42.
His mark stood for 11 years. (Wikipedia corrected.)

As of 2013 the International Race Records Report the Tarahumara had the youngest as well as oldest winners in history of Ultra Running 100 mile races. The Tarahumara Racing Team also posted the youngest ever finisher.


1st - Juan Herrera 25, Tarahumara 17 : 30 : 42 : 24,  
3rd - Martimano Cervantes 42, Tarahumara 19 : 46 : 33 
4th - Rafael Holguin 25, Tarahumara 20 : 26 : 35 (tied) 
(5)th - Gabriel Bautista 24, Tarahumara 20 : 26 : 35 (tied) 
7th - Martin Ramirez 31, Tarahumara  20 : 51 : 07
10th - Manuel Luna 31, Tarahumara 21 : 09 : 07
11th- Corpus Quintero 22, Tarahumara 21 : 09 : 07

As the Tarahumaras traditional race in pairs, we see a number of ties. Had this had been know by the pacers the Tarahumaras would have many ran together to tie for 1st or second places in many races.  In 1994 the 3rd place finisher Martimano Cervantes would have tied for 1st. with his village team mate Juan Herrera, had he not been held back by his pacer True Shaggy Hickman.

This is a truly incredible record of Tarahumara racing prowess. Seven of the top 11 finishers.  This show the American racing community that the Tarahumara were a real precieved threat to white domination.  It is after this that many weird and dangerous things began t happen to the Indian runners out in the woods and in closed aid stations and also not being able to enter races officially. There were a few wins after 1994 but nothing like what coule have been. One must keep in mind that this was the first ever entry into a white mans race so they had no experience. If given the chance later they would have done even better. This was a true tragedy for many individual runners as the team really only had 2 chances at winning and they got virtually nothing for their efforts.  The team sponsor Richard D. Fisher was the only one to pay cash rewards and tons of food to the villages of origin.   


The Wasatch Front Trial 100
(not allowed to enter officially but ran start to finish with the Anglo racers, won and set the record)

1st - Gabrial Bautista  25, Tarahumara  19:57:31 Course record at that time
1st -  Martimano Cervantes  43, Tarahumara  19:57:31 Tied for first and course record.

Western States 100 1995

3rd - Gabriel Bautista 25, Tarahumara 18:46:43 
(despite being held in closed aid stations  for an estimated 1 hour)

12th   - Martin Ramirez 32, Tarahumara 21:41:29
(also held in a closed aid stations for about an hour)

Angeles Crest 100 1997

1st - Cerrildo Chacarito, 43, Tarahumara 19:37:03
6th - Juan Herrera, 29, Tarahumara 20:52:29


The depth and ages of the Tarahumara racing team was truly incredible. There was a powerful and talented force of Native American running talent presented internationally from 1993 - 1997.

One clear result of these statistics and very brief facts is that if the Tarahuara Racing Team had received financial support from anywhere  that Tarahumara would be an international running force at long distances like Ethiopia is today. Just as importantly, Native Americans would have their place in history as some of humanities most remarkable and greatest runners, not just legends but in fact.  

That these are the very last of the running Indians in history if one searches the international results and times of these "ultra" races since 1998.

From my personal interest, I of course, wanted the Native Americans to have support for their natural god given talents, especially in athletics and arts. Lacking that possibility, I want to give a historical view so that it can be known what the Anasazi and later the Apache could do in unrecorded ancient times. 

Above presented is the only scientific report ever made on Native American running quality and potential at long distances. From my experience I can also say that formerly there were more talented and enduring Tarahumara runners at longer distances than those those Tarahumara that we were able to present between 1993-1997. 

As far as is know no high quality Tarahumara Racers have been presented to the international racing circuit since 1998.  Why is that?

Tarahumara Racing Team and the Apache Running Warrior Geronimo
Native American Running History

by Richard D. Fisher

The Tarahumara Indian Racing Team that dominated long distance running in the 1990's heritage goes back to the Apaches of Geronimo's band. These Tarahumara Indian runners in Mexico, are descendants, in part, from the Chiricahua Apache and others who left the American reservation system in 1880-90's. I discovered the Tarahumara Ultra Marathon long distance runners of Copper Canyon while I was living on the Apache Reservation in the 1970's, teaching and coaching athletics. Geronimo was one of the leaders who fought at the last Apache uprising at Cibecue, in August 1881. There are lots of notable Mogollon Anasazi ruins in that area at Grasshopper and Kinishba, where the Anasazi, who started in Chaco Canyon, made their last stand. I went down to explore the Copper Canyon Mexico the homeland of the running Tarahumara Tribe because of my interest in the Apache, the Anasazi and specifically my personal research into Geronimo and his camps in the Mogollon Rim of Arizona and his “lost  camps” and hideouts in the Sierra Madre of Mexico.


The Tarahumara Indian Racing Team and the Apache heritage link, took me on a path of discovery that helped resolve the mystery of the Chaco Canyon Anasazi, where they came from, where they went and why. There have been legends and rumors of the last Apache in the Sierra Madre in Northern Mexico for over a century. Getting to the know the family background of the racing teams led me to find what is perhaps the last wild, lost Apache's of the Sierra Madre. These three ancient tribes, the Anasazi, the Tarahumara and the Apache, lived, traded, and raided, running from the Copper Canyon north to southern Colorado spanning the past 1000 years. These three peoples shared the long distance running tradition.




At that time there were no guidebook nor maps of the vast canyon lands. After some years, the Tarahumaras in this virtually unknown and remote region showed me their secret hideaways deep within the hidden recesses in the gorges. Here, they had entire villages where their homes were hidden away from the White Man. These "Gentile" Tarahumara reminded me of the wild "Horse Boys" of the White Mountain Apache that still roamed the Cibecue Canyon area of the reservation, running and hiding in the huge rugged canyons. I lived in Cibecue Arizona for 3 years, the site of the “ghost dance uprising” lead by Geronimo. The Cibecue Apache are one of the most traditional Native Americans left in the USA proper. I was the athletic coach of the first ever winning wrestling team, and girls basketball and volleyball teams. I got an excellent opportunity to see and be directly involved with full blooded Apache youth with incredible, yet unknown, athletic talent. The Tarahumara are much more peaceful than the legendary fighting Apache. Nonetheless, they are very serious competitors when it comes to their endurance running,  a “Warrior Tradition” in its own rite and now in the modern world.





1992 - 1998


Tarahumara Racing Team and the Apache Running Warrior Geronimo  

Native American Running History



  Richard D. Fisher


Geronimo, a Chiricahua Apache  was the leader of the great running Apache warriors.


Native American spirituality - Awantar - a test of endurance in life and running

Awantar - to endure whatever adversity life throws in your path. This is the motto of the Tarahumara Racing Team. All of the participants in the Tarahumara Racing Team are alive as of 2013 and thriving, they have endured. In 1992, a medical study said that some of them had heart damage from that Leadville race. I felt that it was stress brought on by the medical testing procedures themselves not from the race. History has now proven that I was right. Awantar is a concept of virtually all Native American philosophy and religion, especially applying to their running culture. The traditional native Tarahumara races that I have been involved in, are an endurance test “Awantar,” almost to the death being over 150 miles long and lasting more than 24 hours, in some cases.


Geronimo and all of the Tarahumara runners and sponsors had something in common. One was, they had plenty of “Awantar”.


The first Tarahumara champion racing team in Leadville Colorado 1993. Victoriano Churro (2nd from right) was then and still is today the oldest winner at age 55  in Ultra Marathon running. Benjamin Nava (3rd from left), age 20, was the youngest finisher in Ultra Running history at that time. Carrildo Chacarito was 2nd place (3rd from right). Manuel Luna (far right) was 5th place finisher. Also pictured is Antonio Palma and Felipe Torrez from the Batopilas Canyon. Bottom row left to right is Kitty Williams, Patrocinio Lopez and Richard D. Fisher Tri-Team Captains and coaches. A very proud moment for the Tarahumara people and  their coaches. This team eventually went on to have more than 50 International participants, 1992-1998. The team record - Winning  7 of 11 and setting records in 3. These are the only objective times, distances and terrain ever measured. From these performances, we now have a ruler from which to judge the historical record on the Apache, the Anasazi, and other famous Native American tribes. Surely, people who were running for their lives could move at this kind of pace through similar terrain all over North and South America. It is a know historical fact, in terms of long distance endurance, that the Native Americans could out run and out last horses which the Apaches were specifically known to do.


We know from the Tarahumara legacy of the 1990s that these Apache running warriors could run from the south end of the Chiricahua Mountains to “Campo Apache” in the Sierra el Tigre, a distance of approximately 80-100 miles of very rugged canyon country in less than 20 hours. Photo taken in the 1880s.


The only photographs every published of the Campo Apache in the Sierra el Tigre were printed in the Journal of Arizona History Vol. 27 No. 1, “Geronimo’s Hideouts in Mexico” 1986 by Richard D. Fisher.


Although I have since published many guide books, maps and magazine stories, selling hundreds of thousands copies, as well as sponsored the only ever in history International Championship Tarahumara Racing Team, I never revealed the locations of their hidden re-doubts. Like the Tarahumara and the Apache before them, I never came to fully trust the white man. As the years came to show, my concerns were well founded, but that is another story altogether and better told another time. 


After the success of the Tarahumara Racing Team, some found our hidden lands, but had little success with their runners 

Internationally or in using these reticent people for modern commercial sports “circus circus.”


In the early 1990's I found that the Tarahumara Racing game with the ball had become extinct for about a decade as the hidden villages would not participate with the Indians living along the roads any longer.  In fact, they spoke a different dialect and did not like to converse with the “modernized” Tarahumara. 


Since the Apache, and the Anazazi before them,  lived in hidden in remote canyons and had to run and carry heavy burdens of

food and blankets and cooking pots, I was keenly interested to know exactly how fast and how far these Running Tarahumaras

could actually race. I was to find out in a very weird and rather extreme way.


An Ultra Runner, Kitty Williams, approached me about doing something with my long term relationship with the Tarahumara.

I first just said "no, history shows the white man and the Indian have a very long and bitter history. The Indian always loose and in fact, for the most part, the natives just die out...”


Victoriano Churro, the oldest winner in the history of ultra-marathon running and first ever Tarahumara Racing Champion 1993.

His winning time 20:03:33


From PBS (for the complete story see link below)


Narrator: In 1886, in the blazing summer heat, 39 Apaches raced across the desert southwest, chased by 5,000 American soldiers. They were the only Indian people in the entire nation still fighting the U.S. Army. For many months, the handful of men, women and children, evaded capture—running, running, then running some more, as much as 80 miles a day. Across the nation, Americans were horrified by details of the chase—some real, many exaggerated. 


Thirty-nine people were on the run that summer, but the soldiers were really after only one man. To his hunters he was a vicious killer, capable of murdering without mercy. To the Apaches he was more complex—courageous yet vengeful, an unyielding protector of his family’s freedom, yet the cause of his people’s greatest suffering. In the course of the chase and in the years that followed, he would become a legend and the symbol of the untamed freedom of the American West. His name was Geronimo. 


Ellyn Bigrope: Long ago Coyote opened a bag of darkness and it spread over the world. Creatures of the night loved it. But birds and little animals longed for day. The little animals played a game to win back the light. They won, but one night monster remained. After the game, the first human, White Painted Woman, gave birth to a son. She hid him from the monster. When the boy was grown, he faced the monster and killed it. He was then called Apache—all Chiricahuas are named after him. 


Narrator: Geronimo was born sometime in the 1820s at the headwaters of the Gila River along the border of what became Arizona and New Mexico. 


Jennie Henry, Cibecue Apache: His name is Goyaalé. We also call him Geronimo. He might have had other names too. A long time ago people used many names. 


Narrator: As young as age six Geronimo learned to hunt. He would have spent hours crawling along the ground sneaking up on prey, catching birds with his bare hands. When he made his first kill he swallowed the animal’s heart raw and whole to insure a life of success on the chase. 


Oliver Enjady, Chiricahua Apache: Young kids grow up dodging arrows, dodging rocks. They were taught to use the bow and arrow very early. They were taught to run and run and run as young ones. And then as they grew older, they depended on this. 


Narrator: “No one is your friend,” Geronimo was told, but your legs, your legs are your friends. 



Tim Harjo, Chiricahua Apache: There was always danger. There was always that fear, that just around the corner somebody would be coming across it to take your life. 


Being on the run certainly defined Geronimo's way of life. He belonged to the smallest band within the Chiricahua tribe, the Bedonkohe. Numbering a little more than 8,000, the Apaches were surrounded by enemies—not just Mexicans, but also other tribes, including the Navajo and Comanches. 


Raiding their neighbors was also a part of the Apache life. In response the Mexican government put a bounty on Apache scalps, offering as much as $25 for a child's scalp. But this did little to deter Geronimo and his people. At the age of 17 Geronimo had already led four successful raiding operations. 



The last of the Apache-Tarahumara horsemen from Choguita-Narnarachi region of the Copper Canyon of Chihuahua Mexico. April 1994

They have now, by 2013, completely died out and are now an extinct sub-tribe as is their special language and culture.



I published a book that sold more than 10,000 copies on the connection between the Anasazi and the Ancient Knowledge of the Tarahumara and Apache Indians of today. Running, ancient agriculture,  religious beliefs and load carrying are the main connections between these ancient Anasazi clans and modern yet traditional tribes. This is the front cover collage from 2003.



I have documented Tarahumara Indians transporting loads of over 150 lbs for dozens of miles in exceedingly rugged terrain in the Copper Canyon.
Tibetan tea porters have been documented by the Royal Geographic Society carrying up to 325 lbs, 5 miles per day for one Mexican silver dollar, in the 1890s. These are the heaviest loads that we have been able to find historical documentation for. This load carrying capacity has tremendous validity when attempting to understand what the Chaco Canyon Anasazi were carrying in the time period of 829-1159 CE.
This is one of the three primary reasons in my personal and professional interest concerning the Tarahumara Racing Team’s performance.



During the 1990s the Tarahumara region was extensively deforested which caused immediate micro-climate change and an intense drought set in.
Through my relationship with the Tarahumara Racing Team, I found out the impact on the Tarahumara people, as thousands of children starved to death during that decade. My personal effort, which continues into 2013, is to deliver over 200 tons of appropriate foods.



American family to Tarahumara families. We all had some great adventures 2002-2011.  Copper and Batopilas canyons,  fabulous eco-tourism and cultural adventure  destinations.



Learning and enjoying traditional Tarahumara lifeways during the famine relief expeditions.



The winning history for Native American running is confined to Jim Thorpe 1912, Billy Mills 1964,

and the Tarahumara Racing Team 1992-1998.





Jim Thorpe was perhaps the United States' greatest athlete of the twentieth century, an American Indian, Thorpe was born in 1888,was also known as Wa-tho-huck, which in the Sac and Fox language means "Bright Path." He indeed followed one of the brightest paths in United States athletic history, excelling in football, baseball, and Olympics competition. He was selected by the Associated Press as the greatest athlete of the first half of the twentieth century.


As was the custom of the day, the medals were presented to the athletes during the closing ceremonies of the games. Along with the two gold medals, Thorpe also received two challenge prizes, which were donated by King Gustav V of Sweden for the decathlon and Czar Nicholas II of Russia for the pentathlon. Several sources recount that, when awarding Thorpe his prize, King Gustav said, "You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world", to which Thorpe replied, "Thanks, King".[19][20]


In 1982, the International Olympic Committee finally recognized Jim Thorpe as the (co)winner of the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon. In 2000 a majority of respondents to an ABC Wide World of Sports internet poll did vote for Thorpe as the twentieth century's greatest athlete, and the results were announced prior to Super Bowl XXXIV.


William Mervin "Billy" Mills, also known as Makata Taka Hela (born June 30, 1938), is the second Native American to win an Olympic gold medal.[1] He accomplished this feat in the 10,000 meter run at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.  His 1964 victory is considered one of the greatest of Olympic upsets.[2] A former United States Marine, Billy Mills is a member of the

Oglala Lakota (SiouxTribe.



While the Tarahumaras run in very minimal sandals, they would think anyone who ran barefoot in their terrain was a fool.


Running Feet
Art Beauregard
Ultra Marathon Running - Term Paper

(Note: Apparently Mr. Beauregard made no effort to fact check or contact the sponsors of the Tarahumara Racing Team easily available at that time in 1996. An otherwise excellent effort by Art Beuregard and mostly factual with my corrections noted in red. (We very much want to thank Art Beauregard for his fine efforts and this opportunity to demonstrate the problem in accurate media reporting facing the Tarahumara Community today, especially since 2009.)


Art Beauregard Ultra Marathon Running - Term Paper 12/96. For the people to whom running is a lifestyle, ultra marathon running seems an old phenomenon, ... The Tarahumara routinely run distances only covered by only the most advanced ...


Tarahumara public racing began at the 1928 Olympic marathon. The two Indians that were running were not aware of the distance and when they finished, they were not tired and said, "Too short! Too short!" (Lutz 22) correct


The Tarahumara first appeared on the Ultramarathon circuit in 1992 at the Leadville 100-mile run in Colorado. They were brought from Mexico and funded while they were here by Rick Fisher, operator of Wilderness Research Expeditions (Ramos A1). Richard D.  Fisher is disliked in the Ultra community because he is thought to be loud, outspoken, and rude. For the Tarahumara, this is true concerning the Ultra Runners themselves. Many of the Ultra Runners are big at back slapping, hard handshaking, hugging, jumping around and ho-ra-ra shouting, a well known and observable fact which is objectionable to the Tarahumara.  As white Americans are so much bigger and more aggressive than the Tarahumaras, they find these behaviors extremely offensive and in fact, frightful.  They do not like to be touched or given hard handshakes which white people love to do.  The Tarahumaras, in fact, do not like to be touched at all, something not respected nor understood to this day. So the attempt made to educate the white runners and race officials was turned around and blamed on the sponsor, Richard D. Fisher for their own behavior. Fisher tried his best to educate about this to no avail. To flip the blame is very common and human thing to do, but none the less, harmful to cultural understanding and respect for others as well as truth telling in journalism.


Richard D. Fisher, as leader of the team, by necessity is very quiet, reserved and must stay busy caring for the 6-10 runners and a dozen crew members. The only solution was to begin isolating the runners after 1993. A well meaning 200 pound white runner pounding a 125 pound Tarahumara runner on the back was not only objectionable, it was rude and insulting.  These Tarahumara might be champions but they could actually be injured by these poundings, extra hard handshakes and bear hugging which even entails lifting them off the ground. These white guys would say  “Oh, sorry,  I was just trying to be friendly”  but in fact if, nothing else, they were demonstrating dominance in the crudest sense of the word and, yes they meant it that way, in many cases. As a result, I and in later years, Mr. True Hickman, felt it was too dangerous, or at least, too uncomfortable to bring them out Internationally after 1997.


It is also believed that he uses the plight of the Tarahumara simply to gain attention for himself and for his organization. Yes, this is the view point and position of the white ultra running community right from the very beginning.  Yes, absolutely true! I tried at every turn and opportunity to draw attention to the massive deforestation going on in the Copper Canyon at that time and the devastating famine that was just beginning. Still to this day, there is no understanding, by virtually anyone associate with racing or otherwise, how poor the Tarahumara truly are, as well as how things are degrading their incredible culture, step by giant step, year by year.  The Race Directors want their entry fee money months in advance, the media wants their time and their spin on their culture and running events, as well as everyone else wants their cut out of them.


But this is obviously not the view of the Tarahumara Racing Team members themselves, as they continued to come with me time after time. This is the strategy of the culture of conquest...neutralize the leaders, in this case me. No Fisher and no Tarahumara international running champions and winners, true. Also never recognized is that it cost about $1,000 USD

Per runner to bring them to an international event. We brought a minimum of 5 and sometimes a many as a dozen. And thousands more if they won, of course. No one associate with racing every asked nor contributed. Round figures it was in excess of $100,000 thousand dollars over 6 years in question for just the racing. Adding food deliveries over 15+ years it is easily over $175,000 USD. Easy as well free to criticize but as real challenge to put your money where your mouth is friends.


In their first race, none of the Tarahumara finished. In 1993, Fisher tried again but this time he familiarized the indians with the course, the equipment and the American racing customs . In 1992 the Tarahumara had many problems. First, they were unfamiliar with the course. Second, they did not know how to use the equipment. At night, they ran with their flashlights pointing up likes the torches that they are used to. Not true,  just a stupid comment that is repeated time and again. This first effort ended about 12 noon so no need for flashlights. The Tarahumara have owned and know how to use flashlights for decades. Third, at aid stations they simply stood there and therefore received little nutrition and became weak and dehydrated. In their culture is not polite just to take food. They wait until it is offered. True


In the 1993 Leadville they fared much better. Tarahumaras took first, second and fifth place (Williams 8). The most amazing thing about the Indians was their pace. The winner was fifty-five years old and only ran the second half of the race twenty minutes slower than he ran the first! Another thing that shocks the ultra spectators is Tarahumara footwear. They wear sandals called huaraches made out of old tire tread and leather straps. A Tarahumara won Leadville again in 1994. 


Later that same year (actually September 1995) in Utah at the Wasatch 100-Mile run, the Tarahumara were part of a controversy. Someone did not pay their entry fees so they weren't allowed be official runners. They ran unofficially and a Tarahumara was the first to cross the finish line. The Tarahumara runner Gabriel Bautista set the course record at that time. This greatly upset race officials (yes, it did) and the second person (standard issue Ultra runner) to cross the finish line had to be declared the official winner. This is very similar to the Jim Thorpe tragedy that happened after the 1912 Olympics where he was stripped of his medals.


What actually happened here? 

1. The race director would not allow the entry payment in the name of "Tarahumara." Several months in advance the team sponsors had no idea which individual Tarahumara would attend. 

2. Even though the race director knew the Tarahumara had absolutely no money he would not waive the entry fee until race day. Or if he was a good person, he could have waived the entry fee altogether.  

3. Even when it was reported on the front page feature page of "The Salt Lake City Tribune" September 5th 1995 and covered by "NBC - Nightly News by Tom Brokaw, the race director "hardened his heart against the Indian Runners"  and would not allow them to make late entry payments which were donated by the kind hearted people of Utah who wanted to see the Tarahumaras run.


In a fine effort by Art Beuregard the historical problem for the Tarahumara running is documented above with corrections with corrections. In this example, he is telling only one side of the story.  This has happened in all known media accounts since 2004. It is hoped that with the correction the reader can see the different points of view, why the controversy,  and the challenges faced by Tarahumara runners and their sponsors in a balance and thoughtful way.


This little example of no fact checking with sources, even in 1996, illustrates the problem especially with reports made after 2008, more than a decade after the events occurred.  There are blowhards, bullies, hangers on, swindlers, wannabes in every field and major event such as this one about the Tarahumara Racing Team and the Legendary Tarahumara Runners. These current fakes glom onto the Tarahumara’s success without knowing not a thing about the Tarahumara Racing Team, just miss reporting of 2nd and 3rd hand reports  more than a decade later, that were never fact checked in the beginning. In the media and especially Hollywood such scams are common place.


These BS artist were labeled straining to be "Gonzo and overly clever"  by Dan Zak of the Washing Post (June 21, 2009). Good call Dan Jak.  Current postings on the internet have been recorded to say "will Hollywood ruin" the Tarahumara racing story?  Given events and personalities post 2004, that had no direct experience with a Tarahumara Champion Runners, and the poor quality journalism currently in vogue, the Hollywood Version probably will be as the ol' rancher was fond of saying, "bull pucky", "horse shit" and "hog wash." hahaha-ah

Life is often so, so funny, even when it is a tragedy.


The History Since 1997



True Hickman Shaggy spirit.

Born Michael Randall Hickman, he had many stage names over the years. Micah True, Caballo Blanco (White Horse), Gypsy Cowboy, Shaggy, and a number of other ones. His true spirit was with the Native American people and he was very against any type of commercialization of running, in general and the exploitation of the Tarahumara9OR (or himself) by any form of the media or sports marketing. Sometime after 2009, drastically altering his appearance he shaved his head, losing his long hair which he had had for the previous 35 years or more. Near the time of his unfortunate and untimely death, via email he expressed strongly his dissatisfaction with the commercial marketing campaign that had take over his life. Mr. Micah Hickman True passed away in a remote canyon in the Gila Wilderness in March 27, 2012. Perhaps he died of a broken heart?

 Under the name Micah True he participated in our programs a number of times  in the 1990s. Here he is pictured at one of our races in 1995 near Creel Chihuahua. After 2000 True Hickman tried his best to sponsor races for the Tarahumaras and in 2005- 2008 finally obtained enough funding to setup a race in Urique. Ultimately this race turned out to be very successful as the Tarahumaras would really like to race again. Mr. Hickman was against bringing them to the international circuit because he was well aware and involved with some of the unfortunate events prior to 1998.

In his last major posting Mr. Hickman said,” I want to be remembered as authentic.” There may be something important and especially meaningful in the timing of this statement, or why would he post such a thing? Why was he interested in “how he would be remembered” at the moment of his greatest success? 


None the less we will remember “Shaggy” as being “authentic in the time period that we knew him in the 1990’s

May Micha True Hickman’s  long haired legacy of  Native American loving and respecting  spirit rest in peace.



The Easter ceremonies were spectacular events back in the ‘90s and perhaps are still today.



Richard D. Fisher on famine relief deliveries 1992-2011 (above and below).






Pictured above is the drought devastated landscape, a starving Tarahumara Child at the Tarahumara Children’s Hospital in Creel which we supported with tens of thousands of dollars in direct cash donations over many years and the happy Tarahumara children and families during a famine relief food delivery.



Kitty ‘Kit’  Williams, the person who first came up with the idea for helping the Tarahumaras with and involving ultra-running.
And the “glue” (running feet) that made it all happen for Richard D. Fisher and of the last legendary Tarahumara racers. 1990-1998

Kitty “Kit” Williams tried her very best again and again for the Tarahumara Racers and she took a lot of cruel and undeserved hits for it as well.

She wrote the first “Born to Run” book. A master piece, which was not represented ethically by an agent, I believe.  Much of her fine writing was taken and spun into other media projects several times over the years. She deserves so much credit and honor for what she has done for the Tarahumara over two decades.

I must say she is a beautiful, brave, kind hearted, compassionate  and enduring human being who deserves the highest admiration and respect.



During the 1990’s several Tarahumara told me that they would prefer they raced until no one was left standing, after they had finished in the top 10 of a 100 mile Ultra. They simply said we are “not tired.” In the mid-90’s we even developed a youth team of boys in the 12 year old range that could  win anywhere anytime at any distance from 10KM to 50 miles. By then however, I was starting to get concerned about safety and security for our team. It seemed that the youth team might not be a good idea. Too bad, because by now the Tarahumara might have been competitive in the Olympics representing Mexico in the Marathon.


It should be pointed out that the Tarahumara Racing Team was always underfunded and this greatly contributed to our very sadly closing down the team in 1998. Micha Hickman True also suffered the same problems. He tried to set up  his own races starting in 1995 but was not successful until 2005 when he eventually compromised his policy of who could sponsor his races. While there are many emails and published accounts that he was not happy with the sponsorship affiliations, it was the sponsorship money that allowed him to try the racing game. There were many signs that he was troubled and unhappy but as of now we have none of the factual details. Therefore we have ideas of the problems as they also happened to us back in the ’90 but will not speculate here at this time. We can only look at his published emails and Facebook entries to see a glimmer of what he was going through at the time of his death.


Articles published during the time period of the actual performance of the Tarahumara Racing Team and most those who were there with the Tarahumara Champions would agree, for the most part, are accurate.


                 2002:    Newsweek International, “Running On Empty.” Feature review of Tarahumara running. August.

                 2001:    Explore Magazine, "Mexico's Copper Canyon." 

                 2000:    Ambassadair's Journey, "Mexico's Copper Canyon."      

                                Escape Magazine, "South by Southwest." Mexico's Copper Canyon photo feature.         

                 1995:    Esquire, “Born To Run.” British Esquire. November.

                                People Magazine, “Going the Distance Mexico’s...Tarahumara Run Ultra-marathons for Tribal Survival.” October.

                 1994:    Native Peoples, “The Return of the Tarahumara.” Cover story.Front cover photo. Spring.

                 1993:    Summit Magazine, “Copper Canyon.” Winter.

                                Runner’s World, “The Legend of the Tarahumara.” Feature article and photographs. December.

                                Running Wild, “A Visit to Copper Canyon.” Summer.

                 1991:    Family Magazine, “Copper Canyon.” August.

                 1990:    American Way, “Conquering the Canyons.” July.

                                Buzzworm, “Sierra de Tarahumara - Exploring the Lost Canyons of Mexico.” June.

                                Arizona Highways, “Barranca del Cobre - Mexico’s Grand Canyon.” January.

                 1989:    Native Peoples, “Semana Santa - A Celebration.” Cover story. Front cover photo. Summer.

                 1987:    Backpacker, “Mexico’s Copper Canyon - Endless Summer Just South of the Border.” November.

                 1986:    Journal of Arizona History, Vol. 27, No. 1, “Geronimo’s Hideouts in Mexico.”

                 1985:    Arizona - The Arizona Republic Magazine, “Mexico.” April.


Newspaper Articles - Partial List

      2000-2001:    Austin American - Statesman, Tucson Citizen, Sun - News, Alpine Avalanche, "Tarahumara Famine"

                 1998:    Arizona Daily Sun, “Dancing for Their Lives.” Tarahumara Indians article. February.

                 1989:    El Dia, “Virgin of Guadalupe.” Color article, Spanish newspaper, Houston, Texas. December 31.

                 1997:    Arizona Republic, “Mexico’s Copper Canyon.” Full page color article. June 1.

                                Four Corners Magazine, “Tarahumara Indians.” Cover and feature article. April/May.

                                Flagstaff Daily Star,  “Sad Songs of Drought.” Front page feature article. February 3.

                 1996:    Los Angeles Times,  “Tarahumara Runners.” Front page feature article. September 25.

                                Taos Daily News, “Tarahumara Indians Run for their Lives.” July 15.

                 1995:    The Salt Lake Tribune, “Tarahumara Runners.” Front page feature article. September 5.

      1990-1995:    Over 28 major feature articles nationwide including the New York Times.

                 1989:    Milwaukee Journal, “Mexico’s Copper Canyon.” December 31.

                                The Dallas Morning News, “Mexico’s Copper Canyon.” November 19.

                                The Oregonian, “Mexico’s Copper Canyon.” November 15.

                                The Tampa Tribune, “Mexico’s Copper Canyon.” October 15.

                                The Tucson Citizen, “Backs to the Wall.” January 31.

                 1988:    Vanguardin, “Un Trotomundos.” Cultura. September 10.

                 1986:    The Tucson Citizen, “Three Tucsonans Explore Remote Mexican Barrancas.” February.

                 1985:    The Tucson Citizen, “Mexico - Fisher’s new book guide to wild places.” February 1.

                 1983:    The Tucson Citizen, “Desert Museum Photo Contest - First Place Award Wildlife.” Focus. August 30.

                                Fort Apache Scout, “Cibecue Race.” April 15.


                 1995:    Qantas Airline TV Commercial, “Best in the World.” Tarahumara running. November.

                                NBC, “Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.” Tarahumara in Utah. September.

                                PBS, “Arizona Illustrated .” Tarahumara Arts and Crafts, Famine Relief. February.

                 1994:    CBS, “Eye on Sports.” Tarahumara record breaking win in Leadville Trail 100. October.




Tarahumara culture is a deeply felt and revered Native American lifeway in which many aspects go back a thousand years or more.
“Modern” religious ceremonies from the 1600s are pictured above.



Copper Canyon, Batopilas Canyon and the Sierra Tarahumara as well as Basaseasachic Falls
are some of the greatest splendors of the Sierra Madre in Northern Mexico.



The Copper Canyon Train is the gateway to the entire unbelievably spectacular region.
Here is available to international tourists an unsurpassed adventure destination. Truly a wonder of the natural and cultural world.


As their primary coach and primary sponsor I am proud to say I “fought” for the rights of our great Tarahumara Runners. Absolutely, I am temperamental and fiercely protective of those I am responsible for. I will also note that in the commercial sports world I am relatively mild mannered as compared to well known temperamental coaches and players of the era as well.

Like Geronimo, who I have always admired and studied, I waged my battles and never gave up striving for equal rights for

Native American athletes and respect for our Winning Tarahumara Racing Team members!



The first and second ever Tarahumara Champion Runners were honored by Governors as well as the President of Mexico.

If the Racing Team had been funded in any way on the American or Mexican side of the borders, perhaps our youth team of 2005 would have by now been representing Mexico at the Olympics for the Marathon Distance and competitive with the Ethiopians who have a National running development program.


Native Americans are well known to be great endurance runners.  Why in a century, have only two Olympians and a handful of Tarahumara Indian Champions stopped participating internationally after such an unprecedented success? With several different coaches and sponsors why are there no more international champions after 1997? THE questions remains Why?




Great Native American Champion, Carrildo Chacarito.  First Place, Age 43,  Angeles Crest 100M, Sept 27, 1997.

Carrildo was 2nd place finisher overall at the Leadville 100 in 1993 and at last was able to prove his championship abilities in 1997.
He was the last Tarahumara international champion.