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Maciel achieves women’s fastest ascent of the Aconcagua
Brazilian ultrarunner Fernanda Maciel became the first woman to run up and down the highest peak in America in a record time of 22h52min on Sunday.
It’s tough enough to climb up the Aconcagua, an iconic 6,962m-high peak overlooking the Andes. But Maciel didn’t stop there – she actually ran up and down, covering 80km in less than 24 hours and conquering an altitude difference of just under 3.5km.
At 11.10pm on Saturday, February 20, the 36-year-old athlete entered the Aconcagua Provincial Park in Argentina, aiming to become the fastest woman in history to reach the summit and come back to her starting point.
To succeed, she had to face physical problems during the night. In fact, it was Maciel’s third attempt at the record, having tried in 2015 and earlier this year, too.
"It felt like I was drunk. I lost a lot of energy from the cold at dawn and spent a few hours running in zig zag, very slowly. I only got better when the sun came out. I returned to my pace and the bad sensations were not there anymore.
"The mountain is brutal! I tried, I failed. I tried again, I failed again. Coming home alive was my biggest challenge.
"I always look to perform super difficult projects that are almost impossible for me, and this was the Aconcagua! Running at high altitude without oxygen with snow, ice and winds up to 70km/h is very dangerous. I feel fulfilled and happy to be able to do it.
“We were not born to fail, we can do much more than we imagine.”
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