The North Face Athlete and champion ultraunner Fernanda Maciel has completed her latest project, a ground-breaking combination of trail running and sport climbing in Spain’s Picos de Europa mountains.
The self set challenge took Fernanda from the Spanish coastline to the one of the country’s most famous summits, covering a distance of 83km with an elevation gain of more than 6,000m.
Fernanda’s finishing time of 14 hours and 47 minutes, sets a high bar for this unique challenge. Running the Desafio De Cantabriua took 13 hours and 40 minutes, but perhaps most impressively given Fernanda’s limited climbing experience, sending the 200 metre Via Directa De Los Martínez on the iconic Naranjo de Bulnes took just 1 hour and 7 minutes.
This emerging dual discipline sport requires almost super human endurance matched with technical skill and a rare ability to stay composed and focused. In this regard Fernanda is in a field of her own.
“I am not a climber and I was tired, but we managed to go quite fast,” Fernanda says of the climbing element of her achievement, for which she turned to The North Face teammate and long-time friend Eneko Pou for assistance. “It was incredible. We helped each other until we reached this beautiful summit, and then we hugged like crazy. We had achieved it: 14 h 47’ from the Cantabrian Sea to the Naranjo summit.”
For Eneko, it was the sight of a smiling Fernanda following the 85km run that most surprised him. “I had always believed in her: in her strength, in her tenacity, in her way of overcoming difficult times, but when I meet her there with a smile, my jaw drops… I was waiting for her disconcerted after 13 hours running with 6,000 meters unevenness but no!”
To learn more about Fernanda’s project follow her on Instagram @fernandamaciel_oficial or head to @thenorthfaceuk on Instagram, and @thenorthface on Facebook.