Monday, June 27, 2011

Ultrarunner Albino Jimenez Continues Across Spain

Spanish ultrarunner Albino Jimenez continues his run across Spain on el Camino de Santiago, the Trail of Saint James. His route started at his home in Burgos, Spain and goes west. He has some 329 miles total to run to reach Santiago de Compostela, the location of the tomb of Saint James, 54 more miles if he continues on to Fisterra, the actual end of land. His daily stages range from 30 to 40 miles, and it should take him around 10 days to complete the run.

As of this writing, he has completed three stages, distances of 44, 38 and 35 miles, and is currently spending the night at Leon. He runs alone and without support. Heat seems to be the main challenge. He reports highs ranging in the upper eighties, 88 on the 3rd stage.

As his run unfolds, I’ll tweet his progress from my twitter account at @smithbend, and post his progress on my Facebook page. Albino is posting his progress on his Facebook page as well.

Part city streets, part dirt path, El Camino stretches across northern Spain, from Spain’s border with France in the east to Santiago in the west, and 54 miles beyond, to the ocean at Fisterra. That town marks not only the end of land, as the name says, but was, in the old days, the very end of the World itself. Pilgrims have followed the ancient path for over a thousand years in order to visit the tomb of Saint James at Santiago.

With this effort, Albino continues the run he and I attempted two years ago, in the summer of 2009. We started at St. Jean, France then and crossed the Pyrenees Mountains on the first day. A triple-digit heat wave settled on Northern Spain then nearly ruining our health and forcing us to abandon the run at Burgos, Albino’s hometown. The narrative of that run can be read on my blog at:

Following this run, Albino will travel to the USA, arriving in Nashville on August 6th. He expects to run the Blister in the Sun Marathon at Cookeville, Tennessee on Sunday, August 7th, imparting an international flavor to the second running of that race.


Starting here, I'll edit the blog each day to reflect the recent stage.

6/29/11. stage 5, Astorga to Ponferrada, 33 miles. This brings the total miles since Albino left Burgos to 179. I'll let Albino tell you about the stage in his own words sent from his mobile device:

"Hi Dallas, i have finished stage 5 that goes from Astorga to Ponferrada (33 miles and 7.55 hours to do it). Way much cooler and heat has been replaced with hills going from 900 m above sea level (2950 ft) to 1500 m (4920 ft) and coming down to 600 m (1968 ft). No more wheatfield either but pinetrees and wild vegetation instead.

well, i guess it is time to rest to be ready for tomorrow. I am so close to Santiago that i feel that i have no right now to fail. However, you know how hard this is.

Thanks for your support!!!"

6/30/11. stage 6, from Ponferrada to O Cebreiro, 34 miles. This brings his total number of miles to about 213. Today he climbed around 3,100 ft. Here are his comments on today's stage:

"Stage 6 led me to Galicia. I am in O Cebreiro, with a hard climb from 1500 ft to almost 4600 ft. Distance was 34 miles and 9.40 hours. Tired but just roughly 90 miles to go to Santiago.

Dallas, i am awfully tired, buddy!


7/1/11. Stage 7, from O Cebreiro to Portomarin, 39 miles. He has now run a total of 252 miles. He has two more days of running to reach his target, Santiago. Today's challenges included hills, heat and shin pain. He says he is ready for a sports massage. Albino's report:

"stage 7, i reached Portomarin after 11 hours and 7 min for a distance of 39 miles. Hills, heat, shin pain that made me walk for intervals. Today i staying at 90K (almost 53 miles) from target."

7/2/11. Stage 8, from Portomarin to Arzua, 33 miles, 285 miles since leaving Burgos eight days ago. Albino is just 22 miles from Santiago now. He should see Saint James Tomorrow - his tomb anyway. It's increbibly hard to run 35 miles day after day. His e-mail gives the sense of that:

"stage 8. I made into a mile over Arzua leaving roughly 22 miles for tomorrow. Total distance for today 33 miles and 10 hours and a half. Pace is painfully slow. I learnt how to say 'you are crazy' other than spanish and english, in french, portuguese, italian, german, japanese and galizian plus other languages that i could not tell which one they were.

Dallas, i am done! 22 miles seems to me like a 100!!"

But I believe and hope he has 22 more miles in him. ¡Buena suerte, amigo!

7/3/11. Stage 9, Albino has finished! He is in Santiago!

Today's stage covered 23 miles, bringing his total mileage to approximately 309, since he left Burgos nine days ago.

It is a very great achievement, where he faced heat, hills and shin pain. Merely saying congratulations seems insufficient. He held the dream of making that run for a long time, and I can only imagine his joy at finishing it.

His e-mail reached me at 6:35 a.m., which was 1:35 p.m. Santiago time. His joy comes through:

"stage 9...SANTIAGO!!! Buddy, we made it. It was a cloudy and cool day, perfect for a run. I did the 23 plus miles in 5 hours and 54 minutes. It is not a good timing but i can tell i felt like heading to the barns like they say. Well, we did it Dallas!!! Thanks for all your support!!!

Muchas gracias amigo mio. Buen camino!!!"

The last phrase is one you hear a lot if you go on that trail. It is appropriate, indeed.

¡Buen Camino, Amigo!

1 comment:

  1. Go, go, go, Albino! I'm looking forward to meeting him at the Blister in the Sun Marathon.