Fernanda Maciel tells us about her record-breaking run up and down the highest mountain in the Americas. 

We weren't born to fail, this is the why I came back to Aconcagua this summer.

Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Americas (6962m/23.000ft). In January and February, I spent some days in Aconcagua Park, with the dream of setting the fastest female ascent and descent of the mountain. I had tried 3 times before but this time I was determined to make it happen.

Even though the weather was not on my side, I managed to have a weather window and I did it – I set the female record running up and down Aconcagua in less than 24 hours. No woman has ever done this before!

The hardest moment during this attempt was when I began loosing all my energy because of the cold, altitude sickness and stress from 5000m (camp base 2) to 6000m (camp base 4). I couldn't open my eyes, I was walking and running in zig zags, as if I was drunk. For 3-4 hours, I felt terrible but then the sun came up and thankfully my body started to work well again. I managed to make the summit around 2pm - that was my best experience I have ever had. 

When I was coming down alone from base camp to the park entrance, a rock avalanche and landslide came tumbling down on my left side. It was a horrifying moment where I had to run pretty fast to leave that dangerous place on the valley Playa Ancha. After some panic, I made it to the park entrance and had finished my project. I ran up and down Aconcagua summit in 22h52 around 10pm on Sunday.

Aconcagua has all my respect. Usually people need 3 weeks to do the climb and just 30% succeed. I had a wonderful experience over there running around, the views were amazing and the people positive. It was a big dream of mine, to succeed in such a powerful and high mountain. I'm happy today that I believed in that dream and I never gave up.

I don't want to stop running, I'd like to dream with another beautiful high mountains...!

Photo: Gustavo Cherro