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Mexican woman wins long distance race wearing sandals

MARIA LORENA RAMIREZ
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The 22-year-old is a Tarahumaran, a member of an indigenous people known for their endurance.

A 22-year-old Mexican woman whose day job is herding goats and cattle surprised the running world by winning a 50K (31 miles) race wearing a pair of sandals.

María Lorena Ramírez, a Tarahumaran from northwestern Mexico, bested 500 competitors from 12 countries in the race held in Puebla, in Central Mexico, according to a report by the BBC. The race took place last month but news of her victory has only recently spread beyond Mexico.

Wearing a pair of huarache sandals, a knee-length skirt, and a t-shirt and a scarf, Ramírez finished the race in seven hours and three minutes.

The Tarahumara, an indigenous Native American people, are known for their long-distance running ability. They run in groups of young and old, wearing thin huarache sandals with soles made of rubber tires. Running is an integral part of their way of life and traditions which Tarahumarans work hard to keep alive:

Often, men kick wooden balls as they run in “foot throwing,” rarajipari, competitions, and women use a stick and hoop. The foot throwing races are relays where the balls are kicked by the runners and relayed to the next runner while teammates run ahead to the next relay point. These races can last anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days without a break.

The Tarahumara commonly hunt with bow and arrows, but are also known for their ability to run down deer and wild turkeys. (Wikipedia)

For his best-selling book Born to Run, Chris McDougall studied the running style of the Tarahumara and launched an enthusiasm for barefoot running and minimalist running (running without expensive padded footwear).

Tarahumarans took the world stage in the 1920s by setting the 60-mile record, but disappeared form competitions until recently. In the last two decades they have reappeared in international races and won several ultra-marathons.

As a goat and cattle herder, Ramírez walks 6 to 9 miles a day, according to the BBC.

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