Winning With Sandals

Winning With Sandals

A 22-year-old woman from Mexico's Tarahumara indigenous community has won a 50km (31 miles) ultramarathon wearing sandals.

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María Lorena Ramírez defeated 500 other runners from 12 countries in the female category of the Ultra Trail Cerro Rojo in Puebla, in central Mexico. She ran without any professional gear, and her pair of sandals was reportedly made from recycled tire rubber. The Tarahumara are famous for being excellent runners. The race was held on 29 April, but only now has a word about her victory spread.

Marathon runner Christopher McDougall wrote about the Tarahumara's ability to run extremely long distances in his book Born to Run. He found that the Tarahumara: Traditionally live in widely-dispersed settlements, covering extremely long distances to visit neighboring villages, hunt, and trade. Run in groups, offering each other support, and teaching youngsters to pace themselves.

See running as fine art, which forms part of religious ceremonies as well as traditional games and competitions in which men, women, and children participate. They consume large amounts of corn beer, which is high in carbohydrates, to stay hydrated. They run in thin home-made sandals called huaraches or barefoot.

Apart from the sandals, María Lorena Ramírez wore a skirt and a scarf in the race. She did not have any professional training. She finished the race in seven hours and three minutes and was awarded 6,000 pesos ($320; £250). Reports said her job is herding goats and cattle, walking some 10-15km every day.

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