Although I’ve been running for a long time, training in diverse locations around the globe and participating in various races over the years, I couldn’t but feel surprised when life came around, knocked the door and asked if it could disrupt the fluid flow of events.
Friends and family have always been curious about my passion for running. What do you do when you’re interested about a reality you don’t know? You ask questions. A close cousin asked me if I knew Carlos Sá, an portuguese ultra-marathoner ranked as one of the best in the world. Being a fellow countryman, I couldn’t help but notice that you loose track of certain social spheres once you live abroad for several years abroad.
As humans we are a social species, naturally attracted by others with similar personalities, emotions and interests as ourselves. I was never a true follower in the fan sense of the word. Never perhaps until recently. In a few weeks time, I got to know a considerable amount of achievements from Carlos Sá and had heard a good deal of statements about trail running.
How it meant escaping the tedious asphalt and city routine.
How the runner got in symbiosis with nature.
The pure air.
A dear friend of mine once told me that I love the perspective of things from high above. Mountains certainly felt like a good idea, as they usually provide astonishing landscapes. I bet you feel nature and fresh air are attractive ideas as well, right? Well… so did I.
As interest around trail running build up, the content I consumed and the athletes I followed started to increase as well. The brilliant Telmo Veloso and Susana Simões couple with their adventures, the multifaceted João Marinho with his involvement in Madeira Island Ultra Trail, the continuous rising of Armando Teixeira and thereafter obviously the world-class ones, like Kilian Jornet, Emilie Forsberg, Anton Krupicka, Philipp Reiter and so many others.
I was never afraid of silence and always loved the violence with which nature can make us feel so small and insignificant that our whole lives is put into perspective. My mind was craving for it and I knew the only way to find it out was to set myself for a challenge. Turns out I was too late for Gerês Trail Adventure but João Marinho was preparing his first edition of the Douro Ultra Trail.
I was set!
Living currently in Düsseldorf in west Germany meant that it would be challenging to find places around to train elevation. After considerable searching, I found two places nearby, reachable in less than 30 min car ride, which would fit perfectly.
Grafenberger Wald / Aaper Wald:
Views of wild animals roaming free through the forest won’t leave my treasure memories soon. Deers, foxes, lizards, horses, … The landscapes I seek to capture them occasionally on camera, printed memories of the love I can’t resist of those naturally enchanted places.
Bergisches Land near Zoo Wuppertal:
I’m in love for trail running.
And this new passion taught (perhaps reminded) me of two key principles:
- Sometimes you need to get lost to find yourself.
- Once you truly set your mind on something, you’re unstoppable!
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!