Mexican Tarahumara woman without marathon experience wins 50km race in sandals

Last year we had Leicester City winning the Premier League title, this year a 22-year-old Mexican woman Maria Lorena Ramirez has remarkably won a 50km ultramarathon despite wearing sandals and having no prior experience.
Beating 500 runners from 12 countries in the female category of the Ultra Trail Cerro Rojo in Puebla, Ramirez somehow defied all the odds to take first place and land herself a prize of 6,000 pesos (£250).

Ramirez keeps fit from her day job of herding goats and cattle, which involves walking around 10-15km every day, according to the BBC.

But unlike her fellow contestants, Lorena completed the course with neither sports equipment nor professional preparation. Incredibly, she had no professional gear of any kind on her during the race, with her sandals said to be made of recycled tyre rubber.

Tarahumara running secrets

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 neighbouring villages, hunt and trade
  • Run in groups, offering each other support and teaching youngsters to pace themselves
  • See running as a 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

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