Solo running 860 km

Brazilian Fernanda Maciel from The North Face finished an amazing project a couple of weeks ago, running the complete pilgrim track Camino de Santiago (860 km) in only 10 days.

Some comments from Fernanda herself:

Name: Fernanda Maciel
Home: Coll de Nargó/Spain (little village in the spanish pyrenees).
Profession: Nutricionist and Outward Bound Instructor

You just completed a magnific project running the complete Camino de Santiago in only 10 days, when did you start planning this?
Three years ago I guided an Outward Bound’s program with politicians from Israel and Palestina. At the end of the program, each one of the participants compromises himself to make something solidary and for the peace. It was when I decided to Run the Way of Saint James. Then I thought to help the people with cancer. Each family in the world has one person with this disease. I think we need to help them. My project, called White Flow, was raising money for two associations that help children with cancer. The
Afanoc, a Spanish association, and the Brazilian Abrale.

How did you manage to recover after each stage?
Run was easy. The hardest party was to keep my focus and strategy to keep in the way. Each day after to run 11h or 12h I couldnt have strength to do any stretching, for example. It was impossible…My “hard job” after run was: 1) to find a hut to sleep, some huts was full of pilgrims. 2) to find a wash and dry machine to clean and dry my clothers. 3) to find a meal to eat 4) to write and send a mensage for facebook and twitter to leave my family and friends relax 5) to take a shower 6) to take care about my foot, it was burning from a strange alergy 7) to buy a kind of breakfast to have at 4am 8) to sleep early about 9pm.

Best and worse memories from the adventure?
The best moment was when I arrived at Monte do Gozo, just 4,7 kilometres from Santiago’s Cathedral. The sensation that the impossible was possible and that the dream was true. The tears and the rain dropping down on my dirty clothes. Peace, happiness and a feeling of accomplishment fulfilled my breast. As a white flow, pure and powerful… White Flow had ended.

I had two hard moments. The first one of this pilgrimage happened at dawn, around 4h40, in the ninth stage. In the middle of a grove, between Triacastela village and Sarria city, my headlamp burned out with no battery. I had to use my cell phone’s lantern to be able to arrive at the road and than Sarria. During the slow way, frightened, I was attacked by eight big dogs and they hunt me down through the track. I did not know how far I was from the road and barely could see the yellow arrows that sign the right way. Kept calm to keep walking slowly, leave the dogs back… and start running again.

The other one happened when I arrived at Santiago de Compostela and at the Pilgrim’s Office to receive the last stamp on my pilgrim’s passport and the “Compostela”, the pilgrim’s certificate. When they saw I had done the entire in 10 days they asked me if I had done that cycling. I answered no, running, so the denied me the “Compostela”, saying that the church doesn’t admit runner pilgrims, just hikers, bicycle and horse riders. After lots of talking they finally understood my project and accepted me as a reflective and spiritual pilgrim. I hope soon “running” also be a recognized form of doing the Way of St. James. And hope had contributed to that!

What is your next project?
I have a very interesting project for next year. But I have to study and planning everything yet. Soon, I’ll let you know about that.

Thank you Fernanda and good luck with your next project!
A very inspiring adventure from a very strong runner. Running is not all about racing.

/Erik

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