The Essentials:

Ultra-Runner Fernanda Maciel takes us through her journey beyond the mountains, and discusses what’s needed to prepare.


Trail runner Fernanda Maciel follows the Mountain Athletics program to prepare for her goal: to attempt the fastest female ascent of Aconcagua, the highest summit of the Americas.


Swapping the office for the trail, Fernanda Maciel is a winter Ultra-Runner with a difference. A one-time environmental lawyer, Fernanda now spends her days exploring new and exotic locations across the globe. Born in Brazil, Fernanda’s aim is to be a positive role model for runners everywhere. We contacted Fernanda during some down time, looking to find out more about her winter essentials.


Hey Fernanda. Could you give us some background about winter Ultra-Running and what inspired you to take up the sport?

Ultra-Running is an outdoor sport that I adore. It stems from the flow and movement of running combined with my love of exploration. Running has taken me across the world. I’ve journeyed through locations that have been both spiritually enlightening and epic in nature; high mountain trails are one of my favourite kinds of run, especially during the winter months. 


What 5 winter essentials are you taking on your adventures this season and why?

My winter essentials list would have to include: Ultra Cardiac shoes, my warm and light Baselayer shirt and pants, and my ThermoBall™ Jacket and beanie. They keep me warm and comfortable and I like the fact that I can wear them anywhere – including the supermarket and even the pub! Important items for me would have to be the Baselayers and jackets; with a good one I can spend the whole day outside.


What other emergency items might you consider taking and why?

My ThermoBall™ is always inside my back pack. It's funny, I have a lot of good jackets but the green ThermoBall™ is my favourite! The lightness, warmth and flexibility of this jacket is incredible. I always use it when I go skiing or running. 

What about training? Which gear would you choose when preparing for a winter mountain run?

I like to use my Ultra Cardiac shoes and my Ultra MT Winter shoes when I take to the mountains.


Do the seasons affect how you train and which training methods do you adopt?

I prefer the winter and summer seasons mainly; I like the contrast between the two. I’m fascinated by the seasons. Ultra-Running races begin in February so I do my pre-season preparation during the winter months – I train both indoors and outdoors.

I combine both proprioception and plyometrics into my training routines. Exercises using my own weight and cardiovascular work outs are of equal importance. Mountain skiing also helps with my conditioning.


Do you have goals for this winter?

As you know, I'm Brazilian so I’m not great at skiing! Mountain ski races don’t happen often during the winter; I prefer to explore the high mountains or participate in running races on other continents. This winter I'm leaving home as I’m running in a very important Ultra race in New Zealand. This is taking place during January and February - I then return home to the Spanish Pyrenees.

Do you have an essentials wish list? What would you choose?

I’d love the Shadow backpack. This would be an ideal pack for running and climbing mountains.


What are your top 3 memories or stories from your expeditions Ultra-Running?

All of my adventures in 2016 were great fun, but I’d have to choose:

  1. Running the Ultra Trail Mt. Fuji in Japan.
  2. Marathon Des Sables in the Sahara Desert.
  3. Lavaredo Ultra Trail in the Dolomites mountains.

What phrase do you live by?

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.