They are called ‘those who run fast’: Mexico’s Rarámuri people are able to run incredibly long distances on end. But nowadays, ‘you have to run away before they kill you’. Threatened by drug cartels operating in their region, is it too dangerous for the famous Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon?
‘We Tarahumara are born with a gift,’ says Silvino Cubesare, one of the world’s greatest ‘ultra marathon’ runners. This form of long-distance running over extremely difficult terrain is practised in the region of Mexico where the Tarahumara – also known as the Rarámuri – live. Based on the Rarámuri’s tradition of running, which has a ceremonial aspect to it, the ultra marathons were invented by an American who wanted to see American and Rarámuri runners compete. A book about the races became a US best-seller, and now every year the region is flooded with Americans wanting to participate.
But this year, the race is threatened by the activities of drug cartels. The tensions this creates make a lot of deeply rooted problems come to light. The Americans are concerned for their safety, but many of the Rarámuri hope to earn some race money to alleviate their poverty. And the ones who should really fear for their safety, are the local activists and journalists who expose the abuses of the cartels.
The Infinite Race has been selected for the Activist competition and will be shown as a preview at the Movies that Matter Festival 2020, where Irma Chávez will be present as a special guest.