Raramuri: The Running People

The Raramuri, also known by their Spanish name Tarahumara, are said to be the descendants of the foot messengers that delivered messages throughout the region for the Aztecs.

After the arrival of the Spanish, instead of fighting, they chose to move into isolated and desolate territories like the barrancas del cobre in Chihuahua. A place most Spaniards wouldn’t go. They are quiet and peaceful people and is most likely the reason their culture survives to this day.

Raramuri means “the running people” and according to some experts, Tarahumara runners have been known to run 400+ miles nonstop in about 50 hours. What’s more amazing is that they do all of this in homemade huaraches made from discarded tires with only Isquiate(chia and water) and Pinole(ground corn) fueling their runs.

A “gringo” and visionary Micah True(Caballo Blanco) lived amongst the Raramuri and respected their way of life and culture so much that he wanted to share it with the world. So he organized an ultra marathon and pitted some of the best ultra runners in the US against the Tarahumara runners. Needless to say, without Nikes, sponsorships or Gatorade the Tarahumaras gave them a run( pun intended) for their money. And this is how the Caballo Blanco UltraMarathon was born and you can read all about it in the book, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.😀

Raramuri running mantra: “When you run on the earth and run with the earth, you can run forever.”

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Photo: Luis Escobar

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Fidel is obsessed with Mexico, the enrichment of life through travel and living with no regrets.

Show 2 Comments
  • Fabiola Rodriguez June 1, 2017, 1:32 am  

    Nice post! Although it’s unlikely the raramuri are descendants of Aztec footrunners, since they have their own distinct culture and language. In any case, they also used peyote, or hallucinogenic mushrooms, to fuel their longest runs, which lasted days. They’re a very surprising people.

    • Fidel June 2, 2017, 12:19 pm  

      They definitely seem superhuman at times but it’s their way of life that is truly fascinating. Gracias amiga.

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