Do you take any solace in knowing he died running on the trail, doing what he loved?
I think it's special. My grandfather always says that he doesn't want to
die in a nursing home...When Chris (McDougall, author of Born to Run)
and I were searching down there we thought how Caballo would say that
he hopes he can just walk off and do what Geronimo would have done if
they would have just let him be. It's eerie, the fact that he did
disappear for so many days. But it was very fitting for him. Hopefully
when the autopsy comes back, it'll show that he went peacefully, without
much struggle. He was running. We might not pass away doing something
we love, so if one gets to choose how they move on to that next
stage—that was a very special place for him. He'd visit the Gila
Wilderness a couple times a year, learning more about the native tribes,
the Apache and Mogollon Indians, so it was fitting in that way. He
loved the Copper Canyon, Boulder, Phoenix, but the Gila was kind of his
second running home, really.
But he's very young. It's extremely sad. He still had a lot of people to
influence, a lot of things he could have done. It's a reminder to keep
doing what we love. He gave everything he had. He was a man of simple
needs, with a way of simple living. And so in a lot of ways, he did a
lot just in the last six years that I've known him to have impacted
millions of people by just putting on this small little race in the
Copper Canyon. But Chris and I also thought, while we were looking for
him, "He'd be cringing right now, wondering, 'Why are all these people
out here? Why are people doing this?'" He didn't want that...And at the
same time, we'd all want to wring his neck for going missing. That was
his kind of personality.
He always wanted to get people to understand what was most important in
life and running. It was always about community and camaraderie and
celebration. Running should be fun and running should be free. And that
was his spirit always.