Guatemalan Woman Runs LA Marathon in Her Traditional Mayan Clothing

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María del Carmen Tun Cho, a 46-year-old q’eqchi Mayan woman and mother of six, ran the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday in the traditional clothing—including sandals—of her hometown in the Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz.


Wearing number 21447, the q’eqchi athlete says she’s running—as she always does—to promote the rights of women. She’s a frequent competitor back home in Alta Verapaz, where she also runs wearing her traditional “güipil” and sandals. In both 2017 and 2018, she won the master category in the Ak’ Wank race in northern Guatemala.

She was then selected to run in the Behobia San Sebastián race in the Basque Country last November. The LA Marathon is her second international competition.

As NBC4 reported:

The brave woman says that she competes to carry the message of equality for the female sex, but that she would also like to win, although she knows that her poor diet puts her at a disadvantage with other runners.

“What I eat is nothing more than beans, tomatoes, chili,” said María.

During a conversation with NBC 4 sister station Telemundo 52, María accepted two things: the first, to send a message in her language “q’eqchi” to all the women and, the second, to test her speed with Telemundo 52’s sports presenter, Saúl Rodríguez.