Tarahumara Running Tribe Featured In A New Documentary

Photo Courtesy of Dana and Sarah Films

An in-depth film documenting the lives of the Tarahumara Indian tribe that inspired a barefoot running movement in the U.S. 

On April 4, “Goshen: Places of Refuge for the Tarahumara Tribe” will premiere digitally on Vimeo On Demand. The documentary directed and produced by Dana and Sarah Films looks at the diet and active lifestyle of the indigenous Tarahumara tribe who have lived away from modern society in the Mexican Copper Canyons for centuries.

“We first learned about the Tarahumara by reading Christopher McDougall’s book, ‘Born to Run,’ which educated us about minimal footwear and natural running form. Inspired to learn more about the Tarahumara way of life, we discovered that the Tarahumara have low incidence of the top 3 chronic diseases—cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease—linked to their plant based diet,” says directors Dana Richardson and Sarah Zentz who both enjoy running in minimalist sandals themselves.

RELATED: The Legacy of ‘Born to Run’

Having lived among the remote Tarahumara community for one month, filming this running tribe’s day to day life, Richardson and Zentz also discovered that localized drug violence and famine due to recent droughts are seriously endangering the Tarahumara’s ability to maintain a self-sustainable community and their reliance on native seeds for planting.

“Recently, some of their traditional races have been lost because they don’t have the calories to run for hundreds of miles” says Will Harlan, a cast member of “Goshen” and winner of the Caballo Ultra Marathon. In response to the Tarahumara drought and famine crisis, Harlan co-founded Barefoot Seeds, a nonprofit Tarahumara native seed bank in Urique, Mexico.

Along with Harlan, “Born to Run” author Chistopher McDougall also makes an appearance in the small independent film. Its success so far has won the film the Award of Merit from the Accolade Global Film Competition in March.

“Goshen reveals how the Tarahumara tribe’s plant-based diet, minimal footwear and natural running form can not only transform runners’ health and fitness, but may also be the key to preserving Tarahumara culture. Our hope is that Goshen will inspire people to take part in preserving the endangered native seeds and running traditions of the Tarahumara,” Richardson says.

To learn more about this film endeavor, check out the trailer:

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