Lorena Ramirez: Where is The Rarámuri Runner Now?

In the Spanish Netflix documentary, ‘Lorena, Light-footed Woman,’ filmmaker Juan Carlos Rulfo invites the audience to peek into the life of multiple marathon-winning long-distance runner Lorena Ramirez. The runner hails from the Indigenous Rarámuri land in Chihuahua, Mexico, where she grew up in her family home in the mountains alongside her parents and numerous siblings. With a seemingly intrinsic talent for running, the woman quickly made a name for herself in the athletic world, recognized for her signature look consisting of a traditional skirt and sandals rather than athletic gear. Naturally, the runner’s impressive feats are bound to attract the audience’s attention, compelling them to wonder about her current whereabouts.

Lorena Ramirez’s Participations in the Caballo Blanco Ultramarathon

Lorena Ramirez hails from Guachochi City in Chihuahua, Mexico, where she lives in the Ciénega de Norogachi community. Born to Santiago Ramirez in the mid-to-late 90s, she grew up with seven siblings. Her family’s house, situated in the mountains, was far away enough from other houses and markets that most trips required hours-long walks and treks. Likewise, the school was also around five hours away from the Ramirez family home, making it difficult for the kids to attend. Furthermore, the numerous cattle at home required the attention of family members to look after them. As a result, while Lorena’s brothers ended up going to school in their youth, the former and her sisters didn’t see the same opportunities.

Instead, Lorena looked after cows and goats, helping around the house as needed. Rarámuri people are known for their running abilities— even their name loosely translates into “light feet” or “running feet.” Furthermore, Lorena’s family sports many skilled runners, including her father, Santiago, and his ancestors. Therefore, Lorena’s extraordinary skills as a runner were a welcome development. Eventually, she started participating in races, including the Guachochi ultramarathon race that her family previously had participated in. Soon, Lorena found herself winning several of these races, earning notoriety.

In the 2016 Caballo Blanco ultramarathon, Lorena earned a second spot— and the following year, in 2017, she earned first place in the 50-kilometer marathon. The race was held in Puebla, Mexico, and saw participation from over 500 athletes. Lorena’s exceptional performance and distinguishing traditional garb, including huaraches, drew media attention. People couldn’t help but marvel at her ability to win such competitive races without the helpful gadgets and uniforms that other runners wear. In 2018, the woman participated in the ultramarathon again and secured third place amongst the 2,400 athletes she competed against.

Lorena Ramirez’s Rise to Fame

As a result of her athleticism, Lorena Ramirez garnered relative fame, often encountering fans at her numerous marathon events who remained eager to take a photo with the runner and cheer her on during her races — local or international. Her story inspired several people in Mexico and around the globe who looked up to her dedication and skill. Inevitably, in 2019, when Vogue Mexico launched special covers celebrating 20 years in the country with a tribute to Mexican women, Lorena found herself on one of these covers. Featured in her traditional wardrobe and trademark long skirt, the runner immortalized her legacy on the Vogue cover.

In an interview with the publication, originally carried out in Spanish, Lorena emphasized her fondness for being a Rarámuri woman, appreciative of the culture and the lands that surrounded her as she grew up. “We have everything, we have trees, [and] we have many things here in the state of Chihuahua,” She said in Spanish. “I am very happy with what I have.” The same year, Juan Carlos Rulfo’s short documentary came out on Netflix, introducing Lorena and her story to an entirely new audience. Following this, numerous murals have been painted in numerous places to celebrate the athlete.

Lorena Ramirez Continues Her Athletic Career Today

Since her rise to fame, Lorena Ramirez has continued to tread a known path in her life, as she remains dedicated to the sport of running. Recently, the runner has been a part of numerous marathons alongside other Ramirez family members who also participate and excel in races. In August 2023, the woman and her family were a notable part of the Solona Norte event that was celebrated in commemoration of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples. Numerous runners— local or international — as well as people from the Rarámuri and other Indigenous communities, were invited to participate in the race.

Additionally, Lorena participated in numerous races and events throughout 2023 and the years prior. Notably, she won the San Cristobal de las Casas Ultramarathon, snagging the first place and third absolute in a 42-kilometer race. A couple of months later, in November 2023, she earned another monumental milestone when The United Nations Office in Geneva recognized her as an inspiring female athlete in their Perception Change Project.

While the year came with many highs, it also presented some complications for Lorena, as per certain reports. In May 2023, France 24 reported that while participating in the 20th Caballo Blanco Ultramarathon, the woman experienced severe knee pain and finished in ninth place. Moreover, the injury compelled her to make a slight change in her chosen uniform of long skirts and huaraches— a significant part of her identity in the media— by replacing her sandals with a pair of Nike sneakers. In 2024, Lorena continued her running career and recently partook in the Latin Ultramarathon Adventure in Nature— which is held at Golden Gate Canyon State Park in Denver. The runner’s family was also present at the event, and her sister took first place in the 21-kilometer race, while Lorena came in second.

Lorena Ramirez is an Advocate for the Rarámuri Community

Even though Lorena Ramirez’s athletic career as a runner remains her central profession, she is also part of a foundation named after her that supports Chihuahua’s Rarámuri community. The Lorena Ramirez Foundation A.C. strives to bring attention to the Rarámuri people and support them by focusing on securing essentials for them, such as food, housing, education, and more. Much like other realms of her life, Lorena finds natural support from her family in this mission, who often accompany her to various events and visits. In September of 2023, the foundation donated to Oasis Rarámuri settlement’s Rarámuri kindergarten.

Likewise, Lorena has found various other opportunities to give back to her community and champion the Rarámuri population through her foundation. In May 2024, she met with presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum. Even more recently, in June 2024, the foundation visited the Mexican Consulate in Denver, where they were able to put forth their mission and connect with the Latino community. Their attendance was in partnership with Americas for Conservation and the Arts (AFCA) and saw Lorena as one of the notable speakers advocating for her cause. While the runner herself isn’t on social media, fans can stay updated with Lorena Ramirez and her family’s life through the foundation’s Facebook page.

Read More: Sasha DiGiulian: Where is the Climber Now?