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Mexican ultramarathon star follows Tarahumara tradition


Maly Polotto’s review of the documentary film ‘Lorena, Light-Footed Woman’ is republished here courtesty of Sounds and Colours.

This short documentary directed by Juan Carlos Rulfo and executive produced by Gael Garcia Bernal, beautifully tells the story of Lorena Ramírez, a Mexican long-distance runner of Tarahumara origin (also called Rarámuri) who surprised her compatriots and the world by winning the Guachochi ultramarathon in 2017, running in her handmade skirt and sandals. After her first feat, Lorena continued to win races – easily running 40, 50 or 60 mile events – and was even invited to participate in competitions in other countries.

This short, poetic documentary shows Lorena running through the vast, breathtaking landscape of her native Chihuahua, in the company of her siblings. Then that same Lorena, with her mythological aura, in her skirt and sandals, runs among thousands of competitors in Mexican tournaments. Among the crowd of runners in her fluorescent sportswear, Lorena looks like an apparition. 

Raramuri girls taking a walk in the Sinforosa Canyon, in Guachochi. Photo by Toni François / Moment Open.

People recognise her and ask to take pictures with her. Lorena accepts without smiling and a voiceover wonders, in the Tarahumara language, what will become of them when she stops winning the tournaments. Lorena runs to get food for her adobe house, the nearby town is four hours away. She has never used public transport to go shopping. She has never worn trainers, ‘What for?’ she wonders, if those who do wear them always fall behind her and her fast feet.

Lorena comes from a line of runners, so says her brother, who acts as Lorena’s spokesperson in this documentary and who tells – among other things – that Lorena could not go to school, nor could her sisters, because the women in the family had to stay at home looking after the animals.

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Lorena runs and it seems that she has been running forever, it seems that running is the only thing she has ever done. Lorena gets lost in the thick of the landscape. 

Lorena’s story is beautiful and beautifully told: the shots, the landscape, Lorena’s voice whispering in Tarahumara are the elements that weave this brief sonorous, visual and poetic story that enchants the spectator for half an hour.

Lorena, Light-Footed Woman is currently available to watch on Netflix.

This article was originally published by our partner, Sounds and Colours. View the original here.