Long before Born to Run became a national bestseller, BRO Editor in Chief Will Harlan was running with Mexico’s indigenous Tarahumara, some of the best distance athletes on the planet. The huarache-clad Tarahumara often run for hundreds of miles through the steepest canyons on the continent, and they have consistently bested some of the world’s top ultrarunners.
El Chivo, a feature-length film about Harlan’s adventures with the Tarahumara, will make its Asheville, North Carolina premier at at the Fine Arts theatre this Thursday. The feature-length documentary by Asheville filmmaker Rod Murhpy, chronicles Harlan’s motivations to live life through the spirit of “korima,” a Tarahumara philosophy of giving without expectation of getting something in return.
“They (the Tarahumara) truly embody that in everything they do,” Harlan—who won the famed Caballo Blanco Copper Canyon 50-Mile Ultramarathon while competing against Tarahumara runners, is a 5-time winner of the brutal Mount Mitchell Challenge, and holds the unsupported speed record for the 70-plus mile section of the Appalachian Trail that runs through Great Smoky Mountains National Park—told the Asheville Citizen Times.
“It’s the idea of giving without even expecting a thank you. Conversely, when you give them something they don’t say ‘thank you,’ because it’s human nature to them, to give without any expectations.”
One way that Harlan has chosen to give without expecting is the founding his nonprofit Barefoot Seeds, which allows Tarahumara “farmers to grow and store indigenous varieties of vegetables on their ancestral lands.”
He also works with his family—wife Emily Diznoff, and sons River, 8, and Finn, 2—to grow organic produce on their off-the-grid farm in Barnardsville, NC, much of which they give away to Appalachian families struggling with hunger.