19 Julio 2017 09:47
A 21-year master class in ultra-marathon running
No special running shoes on their feet.
No streamlined sportswear.
No stopwatches or heart-rate monitors.
No coaches or professional training sessions.
No professional teams or sponsors.
Once again, the indigenous Tarahumara – or Rarámuri – people were crowned champions in the ultra-marathon de los cañones. In the competition, held in the canyons of Guachochi in Chihuahuah, runners have to contend with mud, stones, steep slopes and a hanging bridge. The indigenous contestants lack the expensive sportswear of the professional runners and have no professional training. They compete against some of the best runners from across the world while wearing homemade sandals known as huaraches, usually made from recycled tyre rubber
More than a thousand athletes from Mexico, Canada, the USA, Russia, Spain, Costa Rica and Ecuador travelled to compete in the ultra-marathon. Most of them came equipped with the latest running shoes, hydration vests, Lycra and compression sleeves. But none of their technology or training was enough to beat the Tarahumara, whose name means 'light feet'.
The competition was made up of four races. Instead of a starting pistol, the cry of 'Weringa!' – 'forward' in the Tarahumara tongue – was used.
Around 100 Tarahumara took part and most of them competed in traditional attire. The women wore long, brightly coloured skirts and scarves on their heads, while the men competed in white loincloths, shirts and scarves.
But that was clearly all they needed. Indigenous contestants won the 100km and 63km ultra-marathons – in both men's and women's races.
'We don't prepare for these races because we have to travel every day and we don't have a car so we always walk,' Miguel Lara, the 27-year-old Tarahumara who won the 100km race, told AFP. This is the fourth time he has won the ultra-marathon. This time, his prize money was $1,500. He also holds the record.
Perhaps some professional running teams will be keen to make contact with Lara or one of his compatriots?