ESPN’s ‘The Infinite Race’ Explores Darker Story of Mexico’s Legendary Tarahumara Runners

Lead Photo: Courtesy of ESPN.
Courtesy of ESPN.
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In the upcoming ESPN documentary The Infinite Race, filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz (Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground) looks at the darker side of an inspiring story that made national waves 11 years ago with the release of the book Born to Run. The book introduced people around the world to the Tarahumara tribe, an indigenous community in Mexico who are known for their stamina as runners, and for their preference to run long distances barefooted.

While the story of the indigenous runners drove the sale of barefoot-style shoes and encouraged people from all over to run ultramarathons, Ruiz’s new documentary, based on its new trailer, seems to delve deeper into the story to uncover that the tribe has much more to lose than a race through their rugged canyons.

In The Infinite Race, Ruiz examines what has happened to the tribe over the last decade since they inspired so many people to run long distances. He also looks at the threats the tribe has faced in the region from drug cartels, who are forcing them from their homes and ancestral land. This includes a dangerous situation that occurred in 2015 when gun violence, linked to organized crime, broke out at a big race.

“You have to run away before they kill you,” a tribe member in the documentary says.
In one scene in the trailer, an indigenous female runner explains what running means to her, and it has nothing to do with athleticism.

“Running is our resistance,” she says. “Our resistance to imposition. It’s a big part of our identity. But I don’t consider the ultramarathons to be part of our culture. Our race is an expression of gratitude rather than a competition.”

The 30 for 30 Documentary The Infinite Race premieres Dec. 15 on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.