Can you win a 50-km marathon wearing waste rubber sandals? A Tarahumara woman did.

A 22-year-old Mexican woman from local community Tarahumara has won  an ultramarathon (50km, which is 31 miles), wearing sandals. María Lorena Ramírez competed in the Ultra Trail Cerro Rojo in Puebla, central Mexico, in the female category among 500 runners from 12 countries.

Instead of professional gear, she ran in a a skirt and a scarf, and it was reported that her pair of sandals were made from recycled tyre rubber. Besides, María did not have any professional training. María’s job is herding goats and cattle, during which she walks some 10-15km per day.

Photo: Facebook

The race took place on 29 April, but only now has the news about her victory spread. María finished the race in 7 hrs 3 min, and her award was 6,000 pesos ($320; £250).


The Tarahumarans are famous for being excellent runners. There are several Tarahumara running secrets shared in the book ‘Born to Run’ by Christopher McDougall, a marathon runner and writer:

  • Tarahumara settlements are widely dispersed, which induces them to cover very long distances to hunt, trade and visit neighbours.
  • They run in groups, teaching youngsters to pace themselves and offering each other support.
  • Running in this community is treated as a fine art. It is also part of religious ceremonies as well as traditional competitions and games in which all the people participate: men, women and children.
  • Large amounts of corn beer, which they consume, helps them to stay hydrated, as it is high in carbohydrates.
  • They run either barefoot or in thin home-made sandals called huaraches.

Last year, María Lorena Ramírez participated in the 100km category of the Caballo Blanco ultramarathon, in Chihuahua, and came second.