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Run and live each race with freedom

by Editor
Friday 11th July 2014

Interview: The North Face athlete Fernanda Maciel talks about her 2014 season

Fernanda Maciel was third at the 2014 Trans Grancanaria (HERE). We caught up with her recently to talk about her 2014 season

The North Face athlete Fernanda Maciel talks about her 2014 season

Fernanda is Brazilian and Spanish with a fervent love of nature and health. Through her love of sport and looking for a challenge she has travelled widely and now lives in the mountains of the Spanish Pyrenees. But still she feels rooted in the waterfalls and little mountains of Minas Gerais where she was born. As a child she was asked what her 'dream' would be - to live in a big house on the beach, or to travel the world. Her dream was to travel. But she realised early that to travel you have to find a way to fund your explorations and without parental help she knew that she would have to be a good person, and a good athlete - and in that way to hope to find support.

At just eight years of age Fernanda started to race, and then two years later was training towards Olympic level gymnastics in the USA. By 23 she participated in a 600km nonstop International Running Expedition. She has progressed through adventure racing, multi-sport races and ultra trails to become a great endurance athlete. 

In her professional life, Fernanda practised as an environmental lawyer and has also been greatly involved in outdoor education through the international NGO Outward Bound. She is also sport nutritionist that loves to encourage people to have a health life. In this way her love of nature and to help people are not limited only to her experiences through her sport, but also to reaching out to others in working and teaching to conserve, protect our natural environment and have life quality.

Her passion for the outdoors is rooted deep within her experiences, "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". Passionate about the forests, the mountains and the beaches, for Fernanda her delight is to be fully there within the nature - both within her sports but also in the sense of caring for and protecting our environment. Her dream is to become a role model as a runner in the world-wide community of ultra runners. Her philosophy in life is simple - to "move… positive".

The North Face athlete Fernanda Maciel talks about her 2014 season

Run247: This year you have stepped up in distance – was the new Ultra Trail World Tour a motivator for this?

Fernanda Maciel (FM): Yes, I was missing a World Circuit with more kilometres... I really like endurance running, this is the why I've chosen the UTWTour.

Run247: How did you move up to the ultra distance?

FM: I started to run when I was 16 years old. Then it was exciting for me to add a few kilometres more when I was getting older. I've also done Adventure Racing, that means long races, 500km race no stop.

Run247: How did you train in preparation for the The North Face® Transgrancanaria?

FM: Our bodies are intelligent. My body was accumulating kilometres, so today I don’t need to do lots of kilometres as training. I still do a lot, but I will do a very long training run maybe only three times per month, its not usual. For me its important to have speed, strength, functional training and also road bike training to prepare myself.

Run247: How long did it take you to recover?

FM: I can feel my muscles totally recovered after 48h, but my organism is not recovered at all. After an ultra my body can take a month and a half to recover. This is the why we need to respect it. Running a long ultra is not healthy, we kill many cells and produce lots of free radicals.

Run247: Is there anything you would change for future 100 milers?

FM: Maybe to take a caffine gel at night..ehehe. Is a joke... I don’t want to change anything, each race is special and I have a message; We just need to run and live it with freedom.

Run247: What motivates you most to race and what are your ambitions for 2014?

FM: I love to run, my objective is always to go out to the mountains to train and get the equilibrium with nature. I choose some races that I think I'll enjoy and the nice people/runners will be there. Usually the mountains are very magic and teach me a lot.

My ambitions for 2014 are the Ultra Trail World Tour that I'll finish with the The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® (UTMB), my last race of this circuit.

I ran the Skyrunning World Championship in Chamonix. I've felt really tired from the previous races but I was happy at the end to cross the finish line in seventh place.

After the UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc) I'll do my next White Flow Project (HERE). It will be the White Flow Aconcagua, where I'll try the record of the ascent and descent of the highest peak of America (6.980m).

The North Face athlete Fernanda Maciel talks about her 2014 season

Run247: How have preparations gone for The North Face Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc?

FM: It comes from the beginning of the year with many races and rest, good nutrition and physiotherapy. A good preparation needs to look at the physical, mental, nutrition and have the best material/equipment to use during the race as well... and the connection with the mountain. All these details make the difference.

Run247: Are you looking forward to The North Face Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc?

FM: Yes, I'm really excited for that. I love this mountain, I've been many times over there and I'm always happy to comeback.

Run247: Will you be preparing in the Chamonix valley for the UTMB?

FM: Yes, I'll be training with my friend and runner partner Rory Bosio from the end of July in Chamonix. We hope to have great adventures running in the alps.

Run247: What are your tips for other runners who are taking on their first 100 miler?

FM: Prepare yourself in all of these points: physically, mentally, nutrition, connection with mountain and good equipment.

Run247: What is the most important piece of kit, you wouldn’t be without in an ultra race?

FM: Water,  Banana Bio Bar (Overstims), Visor (The North Face), Bra (The North Face), Compression socks R2 (Compressport) and some salt.

We would like to thanks to Fernanda for her time!

About the Ultra-Trail® World Tour

Vibram® Hong Kong 100
Place: Hong Kong, China
Year of creation: 2011
Web: www.vibramhk100.com

The North Face® Transgrancanaria
Place: Las Palmas, Grande Canarie Island (Spain)
Year of creation: 2003
Web: www.transgrancanaria.net

Vibram® Tarawera 100km Ultramarathon
Place: Bay of Plenty, North Island (New-Zealand)
Year of creation: 2009
Web: www.taraweraultra.com.nz

Marathon des Sables 
Place: South Sahara (Marocco)
Year of creation: 1985
Web: www.marathondessables.com

Ultra-Trail Mt.Fuji®
Place: Yamanashi, Chubu (Japan)
Year of creation: 2012
Web: www.ultratrailmtfuji.com

The North Face® 100 Australia
Place: Katoomba, Blue Mountains (Australia)
Year of creation: 2008
Web: www.thenorthface100.com.au

The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail
Place: Cortina d'Ampezzo, Dolomites (Italy)
Year of creation: 2007
Web: www.ultratrail.it

The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run
Place: Squaw Valley, California (USA)
Year of creation: 1973
Web: www.wser.org

The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®
Place: Chamonix Mont-Blanc (France, Italy, Switzerland)
Year of creation: 2003
Web: www.ultratrailmb.com

La Diagonale des Fous
Place : La Réunion Island (France)
Year of creation: 1994
Web: www.grandraid-reunion.com


Role and objectives:

  • To BOOST the international promotion of major trail-running events.
  • To PROMO a varied offer of races adapted to all runners.
  • To INVITE all athletes to travel and discover the world.
  • To HELP the elites athletes to be part of these major trail running events.

Internet : www.ultratrailworldtour.com
Facebook : www.facebook.com/UltraTrailWorldTour
Twitter : @ultratrail


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