Micah True. (Courtesy Photo)
Micah True. (Courtesy Photo) (COURTESY / Daily Camera)

Friends and loved ones of late Boulder ultra-runner Micah True have completed a rough cut of a documentary about "Caballo Blanco," but they are hoping for a rush of online financial contributions to help get the film in front of a larger audience.

The movie, "Run Free: The True Story of Caballo Blanco," is now the subject of a Kickstarter campaign seeking to raise $75,000 to help fund post-production, additional editing, marketing and distribution in hopes getting the movie onto the international festival circuit this fall, with eyes on a US theatrical release next summer, according to its creators.

As of Friday afternoon, the campaign, which ends July 31, had raised just shy of $19,000, contributed by more than 200 backers.

The project dates back to spring 2009 when Seattle-based filmmaker Sterling Noren, the film's director, was working on a documentary about riding his motorcycle solo through northern Mexico. When he reached the Copper Canyon, Noren met True just before that year's Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon, a 50-mile race True founded in 2002, centered on the long-distance running culture of the area's indigenous Raramuri people.

'Run Free: The True Story of Caballo Blanco'

To contribute to the film, visit kickstarter.com

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For more information about the movie, visit runfreemovie.com.

For more information about the Ultra Marathon Caballo Blanco, visit ultracb.com.

Noren shot footage of that year's race, totally unaware that author Christopher McDougall was just months away from publishing "Born to Run," the national best-seller that brought fame to True, the Copper Canyon race and other ultra-runners.

"You could imagine my surprise when I got home and started working on a short film about this race and then I read this book and said, 'Hey, I met this key guy'" Noren recalled.

Movie documents True's living legacy

Noren turned his 2009 footage into a nine-minute movie about the race that True later used to promote it. They would not work together again until 2012 when True invited the director to come back to the site of the race in Urique, Mexico to collect footage for a planned feature-length documentary. Noren would never see Caballo Blanco run again.

"We finished filming the 2012 race, then we departed a couple of days later and that was the last time I saw him alive," Noren said. "About three weeks later he went missing in the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico. It became really quickly apparent that it could be something serious."

A movie poster for "Run Free," the documentary about the life of famed Boulder ultra-runner Micah True who died of heart disease while on a run
A movie poster for "Run Free," the documentary about the life of famed Boulder ultra-runner Micah True who died of heart disease while on a run in New Mexico in 2012. A Kickstarter campaign to help fund production and marketing of the movie is underway now. (COURTESY / Daily Camera)

True died on March 27, 2012 from heart disease after setting out for a morning run in the rugged wilderness area. He was 58.

True's death also is documented in "Run Free," after his girlfriend, Maria Walton, invited Noren to come to New Mexico during the four-day search the followed his disappearance.

"She asked me if I would go down to the Gila Wilderness and document whatever happened, which ultimately became the recovery of his body," Noren said. "It is part of the movie as is the return to Urique a year later to see how his legacy has lived on and how the families and the Mas Locos (True's self-dubbed 'Very Crazy' runners) have carried on the tradition of this race."

Walton, who is executive producer of "Run Free," said making a feature length documentary about the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon — since renamed the Ultra Marathon Caballo Blanco — was important to True as a means to tell the story of the race in his own words. She was among the people who celebrated True's life and spread some of his ashes in Boulder's Chautauqua area after his death.

"Micah just wanted the truth to be known about how authentic and real he was and I think (the film) shows how one individual who might not have had much materially or financially can still be rich in what matters," Walton said.

"I think Sterling and I wanted to show that you don't have to be an ultra marathon runner to be moved by this race. You can just love to walk or hike and love the outdoors and just love other people and see that we can all be part of sharing something special as a community."

Profits from film could benefit Raramuri

The Kickstarter campaign is offering rewards that include public thanks on the movie's Facebook or Twitter pages for pledges of $10 or more, or a limited-edition DVD, movie poster and copies of the "Born to Run" signed by Mas Locos and Boulder's Scott Jurek, for pledges between $1,000 and $2,500.

Walton also serves as president and chairwoman of Norwas de Raramuri, a non-profit True cofounded that is aimed at providing maize, non-GMO seed corn and financial assistance to the Raramuri people. All runners in the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon receive food vouchers to help feed their families.

Walton is hopeful that the film, which thus far has been funded entirely through donated time and effort from the filmmakers, will eventually generate enough profit to help the Raramuri, whose way of life faces threats including drought, and drug-related violence in Mexico.

For Noren, it all boils down to "korima," the Raramuri principle of sharing with one another.

"For those that go to this race it is a transformational experience," he said. "And the lesson for me is this story isn't complete until it's shared."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or rubinoj@dailycamera.com