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Mexico’s Copper Canyon is an amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in the Sierra Madre Occidental, in the State of Chihuahua, northwestern Mexico. It consists of 6 different canyons, which combine to make the Copper Canyon system 4 times the size of the Grand Canyon in the United States. (See the map in this gallery.) Steeply plunging 7,550 feet at its deepest, it is deeper than the Grand Canyon (6,000 feet). It was created by erosion resulting from wind, rain, and the river itself, so it is somewhat similar in looks to the Grand Canyon, with a layered structure of dramatic vertical walls and interspersed talus slopes. It got its name from the “copper-like” color of the rock walls in some parts of the canyon.

Interestingly, the Copper Canyon area is the home of the Tarahumara people, who refer to themselves as Raramuri and who comprise one of the largest indigeneous tribes in Mexico. Tarahumara means"running people," and these extraordinary human beings are what amounts to the world's greatest "ultra marathoners." They routinely run more that 200 miles in a single day, mostly wearing only crude huarache-type sandals and sometimes bare feet; and they have been known to run 400 miles in just 50 hours! They are truly "freaks of nature."

The story of the Tarahumara became famous with the publication in 2009 of the best-selling: Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall. The book is a great read, and one need not be a runner to see why. For those with interest in the history of these remarkable people, there is a very good website.
http://ultrarunninghistory.com/tarahumara/

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