Tribes are something most people never really give a second thought, so it is hard to think that there are individuals in this world who live in total isolation, cut off from the outside world. No modern technology, no designers clothes or vehicles. Just living off the land as they have done for centuries before.
Here we have five remarkable tribes who live in some of the most remote communities in the world.
5. The Tarahumara
Those who have read Christopher McDougall’s best-selling book âBorn to Runâ will know all about the Tarahumara Tribe. They call themselves Raramuri and live in and above the canyons of Northern Mexico. They are there because they were forced to retreat to this remote area five centuries ago by the invasion of the Spanish, and have stayed there ever since.
The Tarahumara are shy, private people who live far apart from each other in small wooden houses and caves. They live a very simple life and are known to be quiet, thoughtful people who are able farmers. However, more interestingly they are exceptional runners. The tribe call themselves Raramuri and when translated means running people, and their running abilities are almost superhuman, defying our understanding of human endurance. They regularly run races of up to 300 miles non-stop, through the mountain terrain and it is believed their record run is over 400 miles in just over 48 hours! That’s 16 times further than a marathon. They never seem to get tired or injured, and their races are done non-stop in either barefoot or sandals made from tyres and deer skin.
Many have entered long distance running events such as the 100-mile run in Colorado, and they have dumbfounded fellow competitors by running in their sandals, often beating their rivals running in their high-tech trainers. You would think they must eat a ridiculous amount of food as their runs burn thousands of calories, but oddly enough there diet is mainly corn, beans, potatoes and apples, and they brew their own alcoholic drink made from corn; which apparently they will drink until they pass out!
As well as being able to run long distances the tribe have barely any illnesses, and things like cancer, diabetes and heart disease are basically non-existence. However they do have an unusually high infant mortality rate, and apparently, the average woman gives birth to around ten babies in hopes that three or four will survive into adulthood. It’s thought that the Tarahumara can run these incredible distances because it is their tradition and their only mode of transport. From a young age they start running and continue up until their deaths, their life expectancy was first thought to be 45, but there is no solid proof of this, and some records show them living into their 80’s and above.
The Tribes incredible endurance has fascinated experts for years, and they believe they are able to do this due to their environment, minimal footwear and natural running form. In running shoes, the heel strikes the ground first, and ground reaction force travels from heel and foot through our centre of mass. In the last few years, there has been much speculation and research going on about this very issue whether wearing running shoes works for us, or perhaps, against us.
One thing is for sure, the Tarahumara have shown us the capabilities of the human body, and they continue to fascinate us with their extraordinary ways.