The Tarahumara are internationally known for being the greatest endurance runners in the world and we are on a mission until the Tarahumara are both world-famous athletes and scholars in the world!
Who are these Fascinating Tarahumara Indians?
The Tarahumara are an ancient culture of 80,000 Native Americans who live along one of the most dangerous drug-cartel routes in the world, in the northernmost state in Mexico, southwest of El Paso, Texas. Most reside in the Copper Canyon, along the western edge of Mexico, which, amazingly, is 3 times deeper and wider than our Grand Canyon! The Tarahumara are internationally known for being the greatest endurance runners in the world! Each year they host 20 ultra-marathoners from 20 countries who challenge them in a run-until-you-drop race on their mountain paths in their great state of Chihuahua. They run barefoot or in rubber-tire sandals, which created the fad of barefoot running in the U.S., and they endure more than 100 miles, which is why they win almost every year!
Reigns of Terror in Mexico
Yet sadly, this superhuman talent was acquired during an oppressive 400 years when they’ve had to outrun their foes during successive reigns of terror: First, Spanish colonizers evangelizing, and then, mountain-mining corporations stealing the Canyon’s gold and silver – precious metals that should have made the Tarahumara rich!
More recently, logging companies have stolen the land at will, eliminating 200 native plants the Tarahumara used for edible and medicinal purposes. Finally, pot-growing drug cartels convert their lands to plant, harvest, and export marijuana to American markets.
So the Tarahumara have had to run to survive, withdrawing deep into the Canyon where there are no roads for their captors to follow, some still living as nomads or in mountain caves.
Read more about this historical standoff between powerful land-grabbers and the peaceful Tarahumara in this feature magazine article that delves deep into the roots of Mexican poverty and the death-defying fight of our liberators!
Can we even imagine this poverty?
It’s difficult for most of us Americans to even grasp the kind of poverty that forces Mexicans to often risk their lives to immigrate to the U.S. We get up in the morning, assume safety, stability, jobs or retirement income, and freedom to hop in our cars, go where we want to, return home, and assume our homes will still be there, unthreatened.
Well, compare that to lacking just one of those factors, security. The strong majority of Mexico is arid desert. So assume you happen to own some of the only 12% of land in Mexico that’s usable to grow grass or crops and feed animals. You are instantly a target for a group more powerful, that may just take it away from you, and often does.