Who says you need expensive running gear – or even sneakers for that matter – to win a running race? 22-year-old María Lorena Ramírez, a runner from from Chihuahua Mexico’s Tarahumara indigenous community, came in first among women in the challenging Cerro Rojo De Puebla ultramarathon (50km/31 miles) wearing sandals, a skirt and scarf.

According to the race organizer Orlando Jiménez, “she carried no special accessories. 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.” 

María Lorena is one of the fastest long-distance runners in her community, which is known to turn out excellent runners. And while she hasn’t had any formal athletic training, she acquired the skills to navigate the mountains, rivers, steep slopes and narrow paths of the course while working her day job as a herder, where she walks up to 10 miles everyday guiding goats and cattle. 

For her winning time of 7 hours and 3 minutes, María Lorena was awarded the top prize of 6,000 Pesos or $320, although we think she deserves so much more!

This isn’t her first race, María Lorena comes from a family of runners who participate in races and marathons all across Mexico. In fact, last year she competed in the 100km/62 mile category of the same race and came in second place.

Lead photo via Asuncion Runners

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