The 100-mile Western States ultramarathon offered four Tarahumara Indians an opportunity to honor ancestors who, centuries ago on Mexico’s Sierra Madre plateaus, reputedly ran 170-mile races between villages, and hunted deer simply by running them to death. But the June race posed troubles their ancestors surely never imagined: Snow in the Lake Tahoe, Calif., mountains forced them to adopt running shoes instead of their huaraches, handmade from tire treads (below); and they feared passing one star U.S. runner, thinking she might be a witch. Still, three of the Tarahumara placed in the top 12, in a field of 400. Their reward? U.S. couple Rick Fisher and Kitty Williams Fisher collect sponsorship money to cover expenses, but nothing more. While the Indians say they’re happy just to compete, back in their impoverished home, a 73-year-old elder muses: “Someone makes money. A shoe company, a car company, someone.”

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.