Fernanda Maciel: "At 16 I no longer took any bus, I was running faster to school or home"

Last march The North Face launched the campaign “Never Stop” (Never stop). Its objective is to encourage all women in the world, through the stories of other women who exceed the limits and question the status quo on the sport. One of these stories is that of the runner Fernanda Maciel, a true sports animal.

At just eight years old, she was already competing around the world as a sports gymnast. At the age of 10, she went to train in the United States, then began to learn capoeira and was proclaimed champion of Jiu Jitsu from Brazil. At 23 he got a taste for outdoor and began to participate in international expeditions ultrarunning where 600 km were traveled “non-stop” and adventure races (kayak, mountain bike, trail running), without missing the opportunity to snowboard, downhill, triathlon or compete in mountain marathons.

How do you go from being a champion of Jiu Jitsu to be champion of trail running?

I was born in a family of “fighters”, my grandfather was champion of Jiu Jitsu and my father was a capoeira teacher. At my grandfather’s house there was always a great wrestling ring, and that’s how I grew up, fighting with my cousins ​​and my brother. Through fighting I have learned very beautiful values, the philosophy of martial arts is very interesting.

At the age of eight I joined gymnastics and at the age of 10 I went to train in the United States. From a very young age I trained four hours a day and I took it very seriously. Sport was my life. I studied a lot too and at that time running was part of my lifestyle. I was running everywhere. At 16 years old, he no longer took a bus, because running he considered that he was going faster to go to school or get home. Also, I really liked running and, for example, running on trails to a waterfall was the best gift he gave me on the weekend. At the age of 25, I did my first mountain marathon and half marathon in New Zealand. Since then, I have never stopped running through the mountains. I think I have found my great passion.

What is the White Flow?

White Flow is a social, sustainable and sports project that I created in 2012 to help both people and the environment. Among my ultramarathons of the season I always try to include a White Flow project every year. My first project for helping children with cancer consisted of running 890 kilometers, from Sant Jean Pied Port to Santiago de Compostela in 10 days, by the French Way. It was phenomenal.

Would you rather face challenges alone or compete in races with a lot of people?

I like both. Right now I am more in the mood for races with many runners because I have been alone for a long time during confinement. However, doing challenges alone is also cool because it is when I can be silent for hours or days and you have to manage decisions very quickly, you have to have courage and a lot of confidence in yourself.

Besides of trail running practice other sports. Which one motivates you the most?

I do cross training to run more and better in the mountain. Lots of road biking and climbing. I like the bike more because I love to test my strength and give it my all. In addition, with the bike I can also spend hours training.

Fernanda maciel Mathis dumas

What feat are you most proud of?

When I was runner-up in the world of ultra trail. To be the first woman to run up and down Aconcagua, the highest mountain on my continent, America. From the base of the mountain, the entrance of the Park to the top (14 hours) and down (8 hours). The summit is 6,962 meters high.

What project do you have in mind for the future?

Running up and down a mountain over 7,000 m and 8,000 m high.

What destination would you like to travel to for an activity outdoor?

I would love to visit India, it has been my dream since I was a child. I think it is a country that needs a lot of help, maybe that’s why. Also because it has spectacular mountains.

What equipment is essential for you when heading to the mountains?

Vectiv trail running shoes, First Dawn Packable jacket and a lightweight backpack like the 12-liter Light Series Training Pack vest.

How do you perceive The North Face’s “Never Stop” campaign?

It is a philosophy of life that identifies me, never stop means not to stop exploring, discovering, facing and learning.

What message would you like to send to young women who want to dedicate themselves to trail running?

I would give practical advice. Do more proprioception exercises to keep your ankle strong and stable. Perform quick series by raising, for example, 8 series of 1 minute or 4 of 4 minutes. And don’t brake when running downhill. And mentally, remember why you run, the reason that makes you enjoy while you go along a trail, be disciplined with training and pursue a goal, because we are not motivated every day, but when there is discipline and passion, it always persists, and also, it makes you happy.

Fernanda’s “Never Stop” kit

  1. Ventic Endure shoe. For long rides, it is a shoe with a midsole rocker geometric and grip surface control. Very light and comfortable. PVP 140 €
  2. First Dawn Packable Windbreaker. Superlight, an essential raincoat in the backpack that occupies very little, made with recycled fabric. PVP 150 €
  3. Movmynt Pants. Fresh, elastic and quick-drying, they have a back pocket for documentation or technological devices. PVP 45 €
  4. Up with The Sun Tank T-Shirt. Soft and very light, it absorbs sweat and dries quickly. PVP 40 €

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