Super Athletes of the Sierra Madre

Below are two fascinating videos about the Rarámuri of northern Mexico. This indigenous group is known around the world for their distance running ability. The impressiveness of their running is in many ways similar to the impressiveness of these Yemen jumpers. You won’t find any fancy training aids or supplements. What you will find however are a group of consistent and obviously hard working runners.

As stated within the first video below:

“The Rarámuri never train, stretch, or warm-up before races. They wear homemade sandals made out of tire tread, strapped to their feet with leather, and they’re capable of running distances that would make an average marathon runner fall to their knees.”

I’m fascinated by this story and I believe much can be learned by observing this group of people. Each video is slightly over 9 minutes but definitely worth a look when time permits.

Thanks to Yonas for passing them along.


  1. Ross,

    If you haven’t already, you need to read the book “Born To Run” by Christopher McDougall. It is one of the most inspiring stories you will ever read and discusses in great detail the Tarahumara tribe of the copper canyons and their remarkable abilities to run like no other humans on earth.

  2. That is very inspiring. I always find it amazing when “untrained” athletes are able to compete against the world’s best.

    So many ethnic groups have natural athletic talent because of their genes and environment and they don’t think of it as special because it is natural for them.

    Then when they decide to compete against trained athletes we are surprised at their ability. Very impressive.

  3. Thx for sharing Ross, I’m from Mexico and I know how difficult things are for the indigenous people in my country. The Raramuris and the Wirarikas are the two groups of people that still have ancient traditions with them. The westernization of their culture is inevitable but this kind of events make this process a lot more bearable for them.

  4. The first video really brought back memories of my trip down there 3 years ago this time of year. We rode big dirt bikes (650s) all the way from Idaho. It’s an amazingly beautiful place and actually the deepest canyon in North America (yes, even deeper than the Grand Canyon) Some of the terrain makes the Rocky mountains look like Kansas. The people are great but there really is a huge military and police presence because of all the narcos. It’s so sad what those basterds do. They force the Tarahumara to stop growing food and grow drugs instead. I would like to encourage everyone who know anyone who uses drugs like cocaine and others that come from Mexico to put all your training to good use and kick the shit out of those loadies for taking part in the destruction of a people and a culture.

  5. Great videos, great story. According to anthropological research, the Tarahumara diet traditionally was (still is?) 90% of calories from corn and beans. These are plant based athletes that are phenomenal. The Kenyans and Ethiopians eat a similar diet until they “make it” and can afford richer food. Wanna be fast? Ditch the animal foods, processed grains, sugars and eat starchy plants. Lots of them. And run. Lots. And LOVE every minute of it!

  6. I second what the other poster said about “Born To Run”. I finished reading this yesterday, and it’s a fantastic and insightful read.

  7. Thanks for sharing. Those were great and inspirational videos.

    I concur with Charbel that the book, “Born to Run” is a great read. I read it a few months ago (twice in a row as I liked it that much). Well woth the investment of time.

  8. Thanks for posting this! I’d heard about the Tarahumara before, during some promotional interviews about the book mentioned above. It’s definitely really fascinating stuff. Also reminded me that I want to read Born to Run.


  9. Third for reading Born to Run, it’s only around 250 pages and written by a journalist so it’s a very quick read and a really really good read. Makes you want to get outside and run as soon as you finish it.

  10. Might as well throw in another thumbs up for “Born to Run”, I’ve loaned it out to 3 people since buying it; a great read and one hell of an inspiration.

    Opinions after reading this, and many of ross’ posts:
    The more effort and discipline you put into anything you do, and the smarter you do it, the more you’ll get out of it. The Raramuri are a prime example of the power of starting small and growing to “superhuman” ability: starting at childhood they play running ‘games’ and build up to running the incredible distances showcased by many in their society. Textbooks and ‘science’ can’t always be relied on for defining the true potential of humanity.

    Just had to voice my support and agreement with the general views here.

    Keep it up Ross.

    High regards,
    from TX

  11. After watching for these the video on ultra runners and the amazing Yemeni camel jumpers. I’ve been pondering all day if it is possible to able to do both? Say.. be able to run 75 miles through the mountains at a good pace without stopping and be able to jump over at least one camel like the Yemeni tribesmen do where you land on your feet and not the ridiculous way high jumpers jump today by landing on a huge cushy pad on their backs. Is it possible to incredible explosive strength and ultra endurance at the same time?

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