No doubt running is a gear-obsessed culture. Chances are your eyes and mouse hand don’t have to wander very far on your screen to find a link on Competitor about gear.
But sometimes the universe likes to remind us that for all of the tech and testing that goes into shoes and apparel, the actual act of running requires very little. That’s why the universe sent us María Lorena Ramírez.
The 22-year-old from Mexico’s Tarahumara indigenous community recently won a 31-mile (50km) ultramarathon wearing a shirt, skirt, scarf and … wait for it … a pair of sandals made from recycled tire rubber.
Oh yeah, she hasn’t had any professional training, either. Ramirez finished the Ultra Trail Cerro Rojo in Puebla, Mexico on April 29 in 7:03, according to the BBC. She bested 500 other runners in the women’s division of the race, held in Central Mexico.
Those familiar with the Tarahumara shouldn’t be totally surprised by this. Marathoner Christopher McDougall outlined the Tarahumara’s distance-running prowess in his book Born to Run.
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Among the qualities that make the Tarahumara such efficient runners are that they drink corn beer (which is heavy on the carbs), they typically have to travel long distances to visit neighboring villages for trade and they see running as an art which is incorporated into religious ceremonies and games.
In her day job as a cattle herder, Ramírez can walk up to 10 miles per day.
“She carried no special accessories,” race organizer Orlando Jiménez said via womenyoushouldknow.net. “She didn’t bring any gel, energy sweets, walking stick, glasses or expensive running shoes that everyone wears to run in the mountains. Just a bottle of water, her hat and a kerchief.”
For her efforts Ramirez earned 6,000 pesos, or $320.
Last year she participated in the 62-mile category of the same event and finished second.