This woman just became a mountain running legend

Fernanda Maciel is the first woman to run up and down the highest peak in America in under 24 hours.
By Ben Johnson

Standing 6,691m high, Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas, is a stern test for even the world's greatest mountaineers, but mountain runner Fernanda Maciel just wrote her name into the mountain's legend by becoming the first ever woman to scale and ascend the Argentinian peak in less than 24 hours.

Yes, you read that right, the Brazilian achieved the near impossible by running the 45km from the entrance of Aconcagua Provincial Park to the 6,691m peak of the mountain and back in under 24 hours; an incredible time of 22h 52min to be exact.

Combatting snow, ice and incredibly steep gradients on the route, not to mention the oxygen-starved air and risk of altitude sickness, Maciel acheived the amazing record on what was her third attempt.

Read more about her preparation and previous attempts here.

I always look to perform super difficult projects, almost impossible for me!

Fernanda Maciel

To claim the record, Maciel covered more than 80km and encountered a marked altitude change as she ascended 40km to the peak and back down again.

Poor weather conditions and illness had already thwarted two previous attempts by the runner, and the challenges of Aconcagua almost forced Maciel to give up on her quest for a third time. The effects of the altitude and cold hit her hard during the night, but she toughed it out and found renewed strength to continue.

"It felt like I was drunk," Maciel said. "I lost a lot of energy from the cold in the dawn and spent a few hours running in a zigzag, very slowly. Only when the sun came out did I get better, I returned to my pace and the bad feeling wasn't there any more."

"I always look to perform super-difficult projects, almost impossible for me! And this was the Aconcagua. Running at high altitude without oxygen, with snow, ice and wind up to 70kph is very dangerous. So, I feel fulfilled and happy to be able to do it. We weren't born to fail, we can do much more than we imagine," she said, before getting some much needed sleep.

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