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The Tarahumara

The Tarahumara are a group of indigenous people living in the northern state of Chihuahua in Mexico. They are renowned for their long-distance running ability. Originally inhabitants of much of Chihuahua, they retreated to areas like the Copper Canyon on the arrival of Spanish invaders in the 16th century.

With widely dispersed settlements, the Rarámuri have developed a tradition of long-distance running – up to 200 miles (320km) in one session over periods of several days through their homeland of rough canyon country, for inter-village communication, transportation and hunting

Estimates put the Rarámuri population at around 50,000 with the majority still practicing a traditional lifestyle, including inhabiting natural shelters (caves or cliff overhangs), using little to no technology and being totally self-sufficient. They live off locally grown crops such as corn and beans, and many also raise cattle, sheep and goats. When they head off for ultra distances it is not energy gels and electrolytes that will fuel them, but rather pinole (a maize based powder used in a variety of recipes) and tortillas.

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