Micah True, made famous by Chris McDougall’s Born to Run, was known as a free spirit. It was said that he would just run for days, stopping occasionally to eat, sleep and discuss the comings and goings with people he passed. True had become a celebrity of the ultra-running community, helping to pioneer a return to minimalist running and spear-heading the development of the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon to highlight the running culture of the Tarahumara tribe.
That spirit that made him a giant of the sport followed him to his final days. It was reported several weeks ago that he had disappeared in the mountains of New Mexico. He was ultimately found dead in the New Mexico wilderness. It is now being reported by the Washington Post, Daily Beast and others that he died of a cardiomyopathy while running a 12-miler.
Cardiomyopathy is defined as ” the measurable deterioration of the function of the myocardium (the heart muscle) for any reason, usually leading to heart failure; common symptoms are dyspnea (breathlessness) and peripheral edema (swelling of the legs). People with cardiomyopathy are often at risk of dangerous forms of irregular heart beat and sudden cardiac death.”
On the one hand, it is amazing that True was able to run great distances with such regularity while suffering from cardiomyopathy. On the other, it raises the very important point that every person – runner or not – needs to pay very close attention to their body and get regular medical attention for necessary issues.
Everybody should remember True’s free spirit because it propelled him to do amazing things, but please be safe and smart as you take on your running endeavors.