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Runversation: Fernanda sets a Kilimanjaro record

THE ASIAN AGE. | SAMUEL SUDHAKAR
Published : Oct 15, 2017, 2:21 am IST
Updated : Oct 15, 2017, 2:21 am IST

On September 25, endurance runner Fernanda Maciel established a new female speed record on Mt Kilimanjaro.

Fernanda Maciel atop the Kilimanjaro
 Fernanda Maciel atop the Kilimanjaro

If you could get up the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed. The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.
— David Viscott

Each year, over 40,000 people seek to climb the world’s highest freestanding mountain, one that is so popular, it is known as the Everyman’s Everest.  Individuals climb Mount Kilimanjaro to mark important transitions — a graduation, retirement, a marriage or even a divorce!

Climbers with disabilities have clambered up the 5,985-metre (19,341-ft) mountain in Tanzania to demonstrate their courage and prove that a disability need not be a limitation.

The mountain top is a place for vision, inspiration, and a new beginning. A famous song by Juluka, a South African band, goes: I’m sittin’ on top of Kilimanjaro, I can see a new tomorrow. I’m sittin’ on top of Kilimanjaro. I cast away all my sorrows.

To summit Mount Kilimanjaro takes between five and nine days. But how about running up and down the mountain? On September 25, Fernanda Maciel established a new female speed record on Mount Kilimanjaro. She completed the 43-km trip up and down in 10 hours and six minutes, the fastest female time up and down the mountain.

This feat was a part of Maciel’s ‘White Flow’ project, an open-ended series of challenges and objectives that she completes around the globe to benefit worthy causes.

She was delighted with her achievement, “I’m very happy. I’ve been dreaming of taking on this African mountain for nearly three years and today gave me that opportunity to do so, and achieve another high-mountain world record. Reaching the summit was a very special moment for me, full of peace. It was beautiful to see the Stella glacier mixed with the vulcan terrain at the top of Kilimanjaro... I had an incredible day running; it was magic.”

Fernanda Maciel is a mountain running legend, a highly respected endurance runner with a deep passion for protecting the environment and helping people in need. Running allows her to enjoy the silence of nature, to discover new places, and to explore sensations and emotions she cannot otherwise experience in daily life. She is also determined to make a positive impact on the places she visits and likes her runs to carry strong social or environmental messages.

Maciel has several record-breaking achievements in her illustrious career. But, she says, “Records are just numbers.” What she wants to do is “go to a place, challenge myself, learn more about the people and give something back. When I’m running on top of the mountains or canoeing in the middle of the sea, I feel as small as nothing, and yet I feel the most intense sensations of freedom and peace, my spirit is free.”

The writer can be reached at gs.sudhakarrao@gmail.com

Tags: everest, fernanda maciel