Friday, June 5, 2009

Ultra ba? Do the Tarahumara!

Posting the "The Painful Truth?!?", led me to more internet searching about the Tarahumara tribe.

From WIKI:
"The Tarahumaras' word for themselves, Raramuri, means "runners on foot" in their native tongue according to some early ethnographers like Norwegian Carl Lumholtz, though this interpretation has not been fully agreed upon. With widely dispersed settlements, these people developed a tradition of long-distance running for intervillage communication and transportation. The long-distance running tradition also has ceremonial and competitive aspects. Often, male runners kick wooden balls as they run in "foot throwing" competitions, and females 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 for a short race to a couple of days without a break. The Tarahumara also practice persistence hunting, using their ability to run extremely long distances (sometimes as far as 160km) to catch animals such as deer; the animals eventually tire and slow down, and the Tarahumara get close enough to the animal to kill it."

"This is the perfect time of year for runners. Not too hot and not too cold for a jog around the block, or to lace up and hit the trails. The more adventurous amongst us train for marathons. Yet even 26.2 miles is just a warm-up for the Tarahumara Indians. Members of the tribe run hundreds of miles at a time across the jagged terrain of Mexico’s Copper Canyon, without injury or exhaustion or fancy running shoes."

"What Can The Tarahumara Indians Tell Us About The Importance Of Running Long Distances?
The simple answer: A LOT! If you’d like some clarification on just how much though, read on. From a Lehigh University term paper on Ultra Marathon Running comes a bit of information. The Tarahumara live in a rather rugged mountainous area with deep canyons, making travel by wagon and horseback difficult or impossible. That means foot travel is the mode of transportation. But why walk when you can run?"

"The Tarahumara Indians of Mexico are one of the few tribes in the world that live well into their hundreds. Another amazing feature of this tribe is that they are well known to be incredible distance runners. In fact, they are able to run more than 100 miles at a time, even in the 60s! In the 1993 Leadville ultramarathon, the winner was a 55 year old man from the Tarahumara tribe.

What’s even more amazing is that they don’t even wear shoes. They simply run in sandals that are attached to the feet by a few simple pieces of leather. And the best part – the runners in this tribe are almost all injury free! So what’s their secret? How can they run so long, in such heat, while only wearing sandals and being?"

There's a lot more in the net to learn about the Tarahumara tribe and all I can say is...

Hindi pa pala ako adik... mas matindi ang mga ito...

Ultra ba? Do the Tarahumara! Uy, Rhyme!!! =)


  1. Hi Rod,

    That's exactly the reason why shoes companies now adays market shoes that simulate "barefoot-running"-to strengthen foot muscle. Think of Nike Free 5.0 (which I used on my training) and Newton shoes. However, these guys have feet that evolve into very efficient feet built for running on ground. Us however have our genes developed into "shoe dependence". While we can only do barefoot running on limited basis, we still need our running shoes to run! heheehehe

    The Running Ninja

  2. SAM
    yup! nag-evolve na yun feet nila. pero yun endurance nila ang bilib ako. 160kms non-stop?

  3. The Tarahumara tribe is an amazing story. For many of us, a 20 mile run is a lot of effort. For them, it's a warmup.

    Have a good weekend my friend!

  4. WAYNE
    minus the all-night party / drinking spree, 2 hours sleep before a race their story is really inspiring.

    God bless! Stay Happy! =)

  5. Read the book "Born To Run" by Christopher McDougall and you'll find out how it is possible to recondition our feet to run like they do. Try looking for the Men's Health Articles written by McDougall since there are training methods that runners and non-runners can benefit from.