Marathon winner María Lorena. Marathon winner María Lorena.

Rarámuri runner wins Puebla ultramarathon

Indigenous woman ran the 50 kilometers wearing a skirt and very basic sandals

It has taken more than two weeks for the word to get out, but today the news is circulating quickly about a 22-year-old Rarámuri runner who won an ultramarathon April 29 in Puebla.


María Lorena Ramírez, considered one of the fastest long-distance runners from the Rarámuri indigenous community in Chihuahua, won the females’ 50-kilometer category of the Ultra Trail Cerro Rojo, in which 500 other runners from 12 countries participated.

But unlike her fellow contestants, Lorena completed the course with neither sports equipment nor professional preparation. For clothing she wore a skirt, hat and kerchief. For shoes, a pair of basic sandals with soles made from recycled tire rubber.

Carrying only a bottle of water, Lorena ran the 50 kilometers in seven hours and three minutes.

“She carried no special accessories,” said race organizer Orlando Jiménez. “She didn’t bring any gel, nor energy sweets, walking stick, glasses or those very expensive running shoes that everyone wears to run in the mountains. Just a bottle of water, her hat and a kerchief.”

A Puebla community website provided even more details.


Lorena ran “without a hydration vest, without running shoes, without Lycra and compression socks, without any of those gadgets used by the runners of today.”

Nor were her kilometers published by Nike or on Facebook, the site added.

Lorena, whose job is herding goats and cattle, walking 10-15 kilometers with her livestock every day, won second place last year in the 100-kilometer category of the Caballo Blanco ultramarathon in Chihuahua.

Running is in the family of the young woman from Guachochi. Her father, her grandfather and various brothers and sisters run, too. One brother also ran on April 29, both of them having been provided support by organizers so they could attend, traveling for more than two days from the Chihuahua town to Tlatlauquitepec, site of the event.

Lorena’s win was accompanied by 6,000 pesos in cash.

Source: Televisa (sp)

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  • DragonTat2

    María Lorena Ramírez. Put her name in the article title, please. An astounding woman! Brava, Maria!

    • Amy Luna Manderino

      I thought the same thing. Why isn’t her name in the title of the article? Even the subtitle says “indigenous woman.”

  • jdwfinger

    She is an amazing woman, salud

  • Good Lord, somebody buy the woman some Nikes, at least.

    • pedrochapala

      what for. she does fine without them. it’s more refreshing to see somebody WIN without all the MODERN junk and if you give her the nikes you are buggering up the maker of her recycled rubber tyre sandals felipe shoe.

      • MMSands

        Again, I think that’s her decision to make — not yours, and not Felipe’s.

        • pedrochapala

          and definitely not yours.

          • MMSands

            Nunca dije ni inferí que yo debo hacerle las decisiones para la señorita Ramírez. Dije que a ella le toca decidir que quiere o no quiere, y que es lo que le sirve o que no le sirve. Dudo que ella necesite tu ayuda ni la mia en hacerlo. La metiche no soy yo.

          • Chuck Roast

            You guys are a riot.

    • MMSands

      That can be tricky. I’d ask if she wants them, first. You can’t go around forcing people to accept or to not accept another culture or another way of life. I’m sure she knows exactly what she wants. I would love to expose her to a few things she may not know about or may not know much about. Then I’d leave it to her to decide what’s important to her. She would know.

      • pedrochapala

        ya just gotta be a dumb interfering yanqui even on a hypothetical. people like you should stay in memphis and leave people like her be. you are a total hypocrite and probably an eviljellycoal to boot.

        • Henry Gale

          Frankly, this dumb yanqui would love to throw out my Nikes and give her tire sandals a try. Why assume that American culture (or any culture) automatically and always has the best/only way of doing things? Maybe Nikes would be better for some — but maybe not for all, and maybe not on that terrain.

          • MMSands

            My point was only that she’s the one to decide what she wants and needs, and what suits her purposes. I get that Felipe was being charitable, but like they say, Hasta la vista, Machista.

  • thank you for sharing

  • Vickie Rama

    Amazing, happy for her and her village. would love to see that race in person. Yeah, GIRL POWER…SHARE HER NAME ALL OVER THE NET i WILL.

  • I would like to honor the woman for victory, and for her modest clothing. She demonstrates that a woman does not need to strip mostly naked, or dress immodestly to participate in sports and win. Congratulations!! She is the winner on both counts.

    • Patricia Garvin Fox

      There is nothing “immodest” about sports wear that is comfortable and practical. Any sinfulness is in your mind. This terrific woman ran in what she had, not ease your prurient thoughts

      • Johnny Snider


      • Any clothing that reveals those aspects of a woman that should not be revealed is immodest; the convenience, comfort, or practicality of it notwithstanding. If you cannot participate in a sport without being immodest, then change sports, or blaze a trail, and demonstrate that it is possible to compete modestly.
        Modesty is a two way street: men are go guard their eyes, and women are to cover themselves.
        God commands women to be modest as much as he commands men to not lust.
        Prurient? The fact that you are telling women it is OK for them to be immodest, that they have no need to cover their nakedness, is where the shame and sinfulness lies. I would say that puts you at the level of a lewd woman.

        • tetsuwanatom

          You, sir, are an idiot.

        • MMSands

          What about the aspects of men that should not be revealed? And what sports are out because they do reveal them? Women are people too, you know.

          • Men need to be modest as well, but the topic was a woman who was modestly competing in a sport where most women in this culture think they need to be immodest to compete. I was commending the woman without feeling any need to flagellate myself first before being worthy to address the topic.

        • FHosea

          So, God gave men the faculty of lust, then told you not to use it, and now you blame women for being supposedly “immodest” because God will send you to Hell for your supposedly “sinful” inclinations that God gave you? So women are the guilty ones, huh? Seems to me like your God is the one with some psychological probems about sex … not women. Hopefully, you’ll outgrow this childish model of religious delusions.

    • FrustratedNeedle

      Do me a favor and take your archaic ideals about women and shove them up your ass.

      • Sounds to me like you are a tolerant liberal, tolerant of everything unless you disagree with it, then you are violent.

  • Hardie Karges

    What the article fails to mention is that long-distance running is traditional for ALL Raramuri’ (aka Tarahumara), not just one or two people or families. This is a victory for the entire nation, who occupy a broad swath of the northern Sierra Madre Occidental, best known for the Copper Canyon…

    • MMSands

      Indeed. Thanks for bringing that up.

    • Lois Prest

      I think they are the people who catch a deer by chasing it until the deer drops of exhaustion.

  • Marion Yelle

    Of course Nike’s not going to publish her achievement. How will they convince you to buy their sweatshop shoes when she is winning with her traditional sandals?

    • Campbell Nel

      why would Nike publish an achievement that has nothing to do with them? Would Apple publish an achievement a programmer did on their Microsoft? Your reference to “sweatshop shoes” is very careless too. Do you have proof, or are you referring to the story from the 80’s? Do you know where, and by who her sandals were made? Instead of trashing another company who has nothing to do with this story, rather stick to congratulating the ladies awesome achievement.

      • Stop sucking corporate arse. It’s repulsive to view.

        • Campbell Nel

          Its easy, keep scrolling. I suspect you only left a comment to leave the link to your blog on the feed. I shall not fall into your trap. I therefore declare myself the winner!

          • You think that way because you’ve got a typically inhuman corporate mindset. Disgusting. Genuinely foul.

          • Campbell Nel

            I am still the winner!

          • In the corporate race to the bottom of the barrel, you’re definitely a champion. Carry on winning.

      • Chris Moore

        Do you really think Nike needs you to stick up for them?

        • Campbell Nel

          Not sticking up for them, just asking a valid question. Why speak badly of them when they have done nothing?

          • Google “nike girl effect vietnam” for the scoop. Nike literally *has* done nothing — they’ve issued a bunch of blather about how they’re inspecting factories for working conditions yada yada, but the workers themselves at those factories say that nothing has changed.

      • Her sandals were made by someone in her village using rope and the tread from an old car tire. And “sweatshop shoes” are pretty much a description of all athletic shoes, they’re all made in countries that have only an indifferent acquaintance with anything resembling labor safety and time and wage laws. See, e.g., working conditions at Yue Yuen, one of Nike’s biggest subcontractors. Use Teh Google.

        • pravinvarma

          whats the obsession with everyone having first world level industrial safety standards? only rich folks can afford world class safety standards. for the sweatshop workers, it is a step UP from their otherwise even more perilous existence. its ridiculous to expect every part of the world to uphold first world standards. once they get more prosperous, workers automatically demand AND get better safety. it is a journey. nike could up and shift its operations to a fully automated one and leave the sweatshop employees to go back to whatever they were doing and you’d obviously not notice it, but it would be worse for the employees who now have one preferred job option snatched away

          • Who said anything about 1st world conditions? I just finished reading an article about conditions in one of Nike’s factories in Vietnam, a 2016 article (*not* 1992), and it goes well beyond 3rd world conditions into outright abuse. Workers being fired if they get sick, workers being denied water and restroom breaks and fainting on the line, workers being berated and beaten regularly, the works. This goes beyond simply primitive working conditions. I have no idea why you would defend such things. You sound like one of those libertarian types who is still upset that we outlawed child labor here in the United States because “if children aren’t allowed to work in sweatshops, what value do they have?!”. SIGH.

          • James

            Nike have the resources to introduce first world level safety standards. They choose not to. That’s the point. The fact that they can get away by doing the bare minimum because the bar is set so low in those places isn’t a valid reason for them to do so. They choose not to improve conditions because consumers are ignorant, or just don’t care. Or they accept that those people don’t deserve better.

        • Amy Luna Manderino

          What’s the obsession with everyone having empathy and humanity? Geez… 😉

  • Kemosabe

    how much is a Peso in USD?

  • I am curious to know who had a hand in removing my comments from this thread.

    • I did.

      • tetsuwanatom

        You didn’t do anything that didn’t need to be done.

      • May I ask your reason for removing them?

  • Chuck Roast

    Wow what a feat, good on her for sure. I don’t even lioke to drive 50 km.

  • Good on her! I wonder if the modern equipment would help improve her time? It would be interesting to find out.

    • sonu

      probably not since modern running shoes are based on junk science and actually cause an unnatural running pattern

  • Peter Maiz

    Just so you know, Tarahumaras don’t were sneakers. They are not used to wearing any footwear, normally, and are comfortable with the tire tread sandals. Those that live in the sierra are capable of running long distances without getting tired easily. Mexico sent some Tarahumaras to an olympics in the 50’s but both were disqualified when they shed their sneakers. Our feet will be OK with sneakers, theirs would have to be custom made since it may be that their feet shape differently over decades of living without wearing normal shoes and in a mountainous region.

  • Robert Haile

    I first read about Mexico’s amazing Indigenous peoples who ran with home made sandals in the 2009 book, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Maria is amazing along with many of these great runners who often do not run outside they communities and remain unknown.

  • Alfredo Santaolalla

    Now you guys should report on how only a very small fraction of that money will be for her, and everything else for the guys that control them and make them run for money. It’s a very sad situation for the raramuri women.

  • Claude Diamond

    Makes you rethink the whole expensive BS of running equipment, training, diet etc. Will Nike, Runners World, etc of the established running world acknowledge this woman accomplishment?