María Lorena Ramírez, A Hero In Her Own Right

Photo Credit: Vogue Mexico
María Lorena Ramírez is in a league of her own among her indigenous group—the Tarahumara, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. They call themselves Rarámuri, which loosely translates to "light feet." This indigenous group of people known for long-distance runners with extraordinary abilities to crisscross the terrain in their home state, deeper and larger than the Grand Canyon. María's ultra-marathon achievements in the past few years have landed her on this month's cover of Vogue Mexico.

The traditional woven, long, puffy-sleeved red dress she dons on the cover of Vogue is a great sense of pride for her. She says that she's much more comfortable wearing her dress instead of athletic wear, her sandals made of leather with a rubber-tire sole. María, 25, along with many women in her community, wears the same outfits when they travel long distances between towns herding animals. Kids in her village were shown running for fun in their sandals and placing odds on the fastest runners.

Running is woven into the fiber of María's culture. Her competitive spirit has helped her achieve placements in elite marathons in Mexico, the U.S., and Europe. Her determination and commitment exude passion for a cultural activity that has survived the ages and is of extreme pride for her indigenous group. They're an admirable and inspiring group of people who deserve the limelight for their incredible talents. Although their native language isn't Spanish (Uto-Aztecan dialect-- ‎85,018 [2010 census]), her brother, Mario, speaks Spanish and translates for her. He also competes in the same marathons so they travel together.

Ramírez said, "I follow the wind. I never thought of becoming a runner. I took care of the animals, but being a runner was never the plan. I feel good about myself. I feel happy when others do the same, and that I can be an inspiration to other women." María's intention to be one with the wind—her humility, passion, and bravery are what make her a reckoning force. Another shining star to look up to in the world. Bravo, María, and onward!

-Fabiola

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