Rarámuri: The People Who Run On Foot
“To live it is necessary to be resistant”, “The one that does not hold, it is not worth”, are phrases that accompany to Rarámuri from their birth, being the dream of all young person to become a great runner. A vigorous people, they are adapted perfectly to physically resist concerted efforts and sacrifices without showing complaint. For that reason, for hundreds of years, men and women, as he dictates the custom, have been running day and night, uninterruptedly, by steep lands, distances that surpass the 200 kilometers.
The traditional race is carried out of two forms: the men run with a ball or rarajípari, made with root of hard wood. This ball is kicked in the air, and the runner then runs to where the ball lands and kicks it again; the women on the other hand, run with a ariweta or ring of strong plant fibres which are hooked with a curved wooden end with which it is thrown into the air. The runner then runs to the place in which recoje fell and, throws the ring again. The game is so deeply rooted in Rarámuri culture that some say that “it is necessary to be crazy to run without ball or ring”.
The races can be great, medium or small, depending on the duration and the amount of the bets. The great ones, that can get to last more than 20 hours, agree ahead months and generate much expectation.
They attend enthusiastic of the diverse communities that bet skins, animals, money, fabrics, blankets, necklaces and other articles. In the medium ones they are run between 40 or 50 kilometers, and in the small ones, that have a playful function generally: they participate with nearby communities and often march up to 10 kilometers.
In these races the winners do not demonstrate arrogance, and the losers are not frustrated. When finishing the races, a celebration is organized in which new challenges can arise. Also there are races with ceremonial character. When some fan or participant dies, the dolientes make a symbolic bullfight as sample of affection and goodbye.
Their training is their own daily life. From a young age, children get used to running when taking care of the flocks of goats, ewes or cows that walk loose by the mountains, or when they are going to visit somebody and they must cover long distances, they make use of the ball or the ring to pass the time as they travel.
This version of the game prevails at the present time, although they have accepted external influences when participating in the Olympic Games and ultramarathons of national and international character, obtaining excellent results. Their endurance and physical hardness are recognized worldwide ensuring that the legend of the runners Rarámuris has a place in history.