World of Barefoot

21 May 2021

Bringing some Tarahumara spirit to the UK

Bringing some Tarahumara spirit to the UK

Ana Medina – Vivobarefoot's Content and Service Manager

I’m a runner. I run marathons and running is part of my life, but when I had the chance to run with someone from the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico’s Copper Canyon, to say I was left eating dust would be an understatement.

Right image courtesy from Ana P. Medina.

My name is Ana Medina and I work at Vivobarefoot as the Content and Service Manager. I am lucky I have been able to spend time in this remote part of my home country, to get to know the Tarahumara, or Rarámuri to use their indigenous name, which means “quick feet”. My family has been involved with the Tarahumara Foundation my whole life, fundraising to protect and support this indigenous community, now world-famous for their incredible running tradition, which sees whole families take to the canyons, running together in the simplest, most minimal sandals.

So when I was travelling there and my brother and I got friendly with our guide, we couldn’t resist, we asked him to take us for a run. We were left completely out of breath. Running over these incredible distances is their life. You see little kids, seven and four-year-olds, just take off and run huge distances to see friends and family. It’s how they move.

Image courtesy from Ana P. Medina.

Every year the Tarahumara Foundation organises a fundraising race in Mexico’s three biggest cities, from a 5km fun run to a full marathon. COVID-19 meant this year it couldn’t happen, it was a virtual race instead. I told some of my Vivo colleagues and we ran it here in the U.K. I’m hoping we can keep this up - next year I want to get more people running for the Tarahumara.

Now I´m far from Mexico, I appreciate even more what I left behind. I am proud of my connection to this community; they don’t run for money or glory, but because it’s their way of life, it makes them feel good – it’s part of their connection to nature. I want to bring a little bit of this to my new life here in the U.K., my passion for the Rarámuri and their way of life, their running, their ethics and how they live with nature.