Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rain over here, drought down there: please help!

How ironic... For the past three weeks I have been wanting to echo Tropical John Medinger's call for help which he released as part of his editorial of the March 2012 issue of UltraRunning Magazine. A call to help the Tarahumara who are going through the worst drought ever in their canyons. And, here on the West Coast, I was running in the snow last weekend and in the rain this Saturday in California. Yes, we didn't see much of a winter and here is the rain coming to celebrate the first days of the Spring...

March is the issue of UltraRunning Magazine which goes over the previous year's performances thanks to Gary Wang's masterful crunching of ultra numbers and his website in particular and also Mark Gilligan and Bill Carr's Nowadays, every bit of data is available on the web but it still takes the energy and passion of a few to consolidate such a flow of information into something more consumable and searchable. 2011 was such a year for me, I managed to get listed 7 times in this issue!

  1. 1 point in the UltraRunner of the year ranking (ok, versus 238 points for undisputed winner Dave Mackey... ;-)
  2. In the "Four or more wins" page which is really something and likely not to happen anytime soon :-/ but you have to enjoy the moment! :-)
  3. Overall winner of Skyline 50K, the 71st largest ultra (thanks Chris Calzetta for sharing this!)
  4. 8th best 50-mile performance of the year (it helps the course was flat, but still, 5:43 was quite something)
  5. 34th best 50K performance of the year (and that was 3:28, we'll see what this year's 3:19 at Jed Smith will score for 2012)
  6. The results of the low key Saratoga Fat Ass on page 81
  7. My win (79.6 miles) at Wendell's New Year's Eve 12-hour in San Francisco.
I missed the 100K listing because I was 1.5 hours late at Ruth Anderson (the 8:05 would have been good for #17) and the 100-mile listing with my drop at Rio del Lago. We'll see how 2012 goes, so far so good... And I keep training harder than ever, with 100 miles this week, resuming training the day after running Chuckanut! It feels good to run below 7 min/mile again and I'm planning on joining Bob and Jeremy at the track this week now that my 10-day cold is over.

Anyway, back to the title of this post, the Tarahumaras need your help! With their legendary discretion, they are not going to ask directly but it's good to have Christopher McDougall, the now renowned author of Born To Run, and the legendary Caballo Blanco, advocating for this nice running community and letting us know how much they suffer from hunger this year because of this exceptional drought which slashed their harvest to less than 1% of the usual levels (yes, a 99% shortage...)!

They are several ways to help:
  1. Per John's editorial, you can send money to a local association, Cadena, an organization dedicated to providing disaster relief aid and which is run by the Jewish community in Mexico. John says that you can send a payment via PayPal to
  2. Personally, I chose to give again to Norawas de Raramuri, the foundation Caballo Blanco presented to us at Mike's house in October 2009 (see Caballo in the Bay: not a ghost!). Check the button Donate at the bottom left of the home page (I had to click several times not to get an error message tonight...)
(Photo credit: Scott Dunlap, October 16, 2009)

If you are not convinced and compelled or ready to take action yet, please consider reading other calls for help:
Thanks for helping this remote running community and enjoy the rain if you have some, or the good Spring weather if you are getting out of a rainy and snowy Winter!


Unknown said...

THank you amigo. I appreciate awareness being spread regarding the raramuri people. Howevever, be aware of sensationalism. Several articles appeared in Mexico papers and pulications speaking of "mass suicides"....THat is just not so [thankfully]... and Caballo awarded over 80 tons of corn to participants of the 2012 CCUM [Copper Canyon Run]--and the communities---along with another 20++ tons for other more immediate hunger projects. Are there communities in need? Sure...most red cross and big delivery projects go to more accessable places..........ALL 4 counties of the sierra madre that make up Copper Canyon country sent runners rto CCUM and won maize vales [coupons the value of maize] to purchase whatever food items were/are wanted needed from the community Diconsa markets located ALL over Northern Mexico and in every rural community. Run free! And thanks to help provide an opportunity for others to do the same______Un Norawa [amigo] Caballo BLanco--Micah True

Steve said...

Hi Jean! Are you running American River this year? I'll be there.


Anonymous said...

...juste pour dire que je n'ai pas compris grand chose saufofficerm qu'il y a des gens qui demandent de l'aide...
bon courage

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I hope this message find you well. Was wondering if I can seek your advice on a race which you ran, the Rio Del Lago 100-mile, 2008 edition. I can be contacted at

Thanks !!!