Pops has been to see the documentary film Run Free, which handles the subject matter of Born to Run which he’s earlier reviewed for us. His review is below.
In follow-up to the Micah True, Caballo Blanco story introduced in McDougall’s book, I saw the just-released doc film by Seattle director Sterling Noren: Run Free. Noren began working on the general idea of a film after a chance meeting with True in Mexico in 2009. After Born to Run was published, True heard Hollywood was planning a film so he requested that Noren help tell the “real story” with his own film.
Noren’s film is wonderful; his work benefits from True’s cooperation and many interviews with central characters including McDougall, runner Scott Jurek and Luis Escobar, who also contributes great still photos taken over the years. It features the beautiful & magical Copper Canyon in Mexico, the special native towns there and of course the Tarahumara themselves – and True’s special relationship with the place & its people.
Filming includes the 2012 version of Caballo Blanco’s Copper Canyon ultra race; and then Noren’s crew was on hand for the immediate aftermath when True goes missing in the Gila Wilderness (as I related in my earlier book review.) McDougall’s fun & mythical tale as told in the book becomes starkly real in the film – both in the simplicity of Tarahumara subsistence culture, and the sad poetry of True’s final, fatal run.
The film’s narrative effectively invites us into the eccentric world of its main character & the close network of ultra runners, which makes their role in the wilderness search & subsequent memorial events all the more poignant. It’s a powerful story for those who can connect, from a number of perspectives. For this runner, four decades in, it was that and more.
Thanks, Pops. I’m glad – but not surprised – that you found it so powerful.