Long-distance runner Micah True had set out to run a few familiar trails in southwest New Mexico, just as he had done many times before.
With his dog by his side, True initially headed for the rugged Gila National Forest outside Silver City, returning soon after because his four-legged companion seemed to be feeling sore.
He reportedly told the owners of the Wilderness Lodge and Hot Springs that he was leaving the dog behind and that he’d return after his training.
He hasn’t been seen since.
Tuesday’s disappearance of the famed runner has sparked an intense search-and-rescue effort, with 14 teams looking for True -- but not knowing which of the many trails he may have taken, said New Mexico State Police Lt. Robert McDonald.
True is the race director of the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon in Mexico and was the central character — known as “Caballo Blanco” — in Christopher McDougall’s nonfiction best-seller “Born to Run.”
“As far as we know, he goes up to the forest to train for his marathons,” McDonald told The Times on Saturday.
True’s website described the 2011 marathon in this way: “While some are at war in many parts of Northern Mexico and the world, we came together at the bottom of a deep canyon to share with the local people of the region, eat, laugh, dance, run, and create peace."
The 58-year-old from Boulder, Colo., was last seen leaving the lodge wearing shorts and a T-shirt, McDonald said.
On Saturday, search teams were using horses, dogs and all-terrain vehicles in scouring the forest for any hints of True.
“We’ve got a lot of people out there but there’s just no luck,” McDonald said. “The hardest part is they really don’t have a starting point to begin with.”
Still, friends are optimistic.
“If there is one person on planet Earth that can get out of this, it’s Micah True,” author McDougall told the Denver Post after arriving in New Mexico to join the search.
In a statement that could now be perceived as ominous, True shared a Facebook post with friends in January about how he would like to be remembered.
“If I were to be remembered for anything at all, I would want that to be that I am/was authentic. No Mas. Run Free!”