Thursday, December 30, 2010

Running the Caminho Da Fé Preview : The Brazil 135 Mile Ultramarathon

This post is part 2 of a 3-part series that will preview the Running the Caminho Da Fé route.  The first post, "Running the Caminho Da Fé Preview : Cravinhos to São João da Boa Vista", previewed the approximately 133 miles of the Caminho Da Fé that is to be run over the first 3 days of the pilgrimage (Tuesday, January 18 to Thursday, January 20).  This post takes a look at the 135 miles and 30,000+ feet of cumulative ascent (and almost equal descent) that is the Brazil 135 Ultramarathon.

Running the Caminho Da Fé - São João da Boa Vista to Paraisopolis

Entire Brazil 135 Coure Profile

Considered the most difficult continuous race in Brazil, the Brazil 135 Ultramarathon is run in the Mantiqueira Mountains, a sub-range of the Andes Cordillera, and on the most difficult segment of the Caminho Da Fé.  The course boasts about 30,000 feet of cumulative ascent and 28,000 feet of cumulative descent.  With only ten flat miles in the race, it is said that by the time a runner reaches the finish line he/she will have completed a course that is analogous to climbing up and down Mount Everest.
The pre-race meeting is from 8:00AM to 12:00 PM on Thursday, January 20.  The hope is to complete the final miles of the first portion of Running the Caminho Da Fé in time to attend the last hour or so of the meeting.  An exciting aspect of getting to the pre-race meeting will be the opportunity to see the other Brazil 135 runners, including fellow Americans Ray Sanchez, Jimmy Dean Freeman, Cheryl Zwarkowski, and David Wronski (among others).  The race starts at 8:00 AM on Friday, January 21 in the Main Square of
São João da Boa Vista.

First Segment - Sao Joao da Boa Vista City to Serra dos Limas' Hill

São João da Boa Vista ("Saint John of Beauty View") was founded in 1821 by a group of miners who, after deciding to rest at the edge of Jaguari Mirim river, became so astonished by the exuberant view that they decided to build a town.  14 years later the town was claimed as a district.  In 1859 it became a city, and in 1885 a judicial district.

Águas da Prata is the next major stop along the way, featuring its waterfalls, cascades, natural and artificial lakes, hiking trails,and rivers enriched by spring of mineral water.  The city owes its name and existence due to the large amount of minerals found in its waters.  From there the route moves to Andradas, a city that offers many natural beauties and a pleasant mountain climate.  Andradas produces, amond other things, wine, coffee, candy, dairy products, textiles, ceramics and furniture.


Second Segment - Serra dos Limas' Hill to Inconfidentes City
The next segment of the Brazil 135 Ultramarathon features smaller towns and villages such as Serra dos Limas, Barra, Crisolia, Ouro Fino and Inconfidentes.  Inconfidentes is well known for its hospitality.  Ouro Fino houses San Francisco de Paula Shrine and Our Lady of Fatima (the church is considered one of the prettiest in Minas Gerais). 

Third Segment - Cities of Inconfidentes to Estiva

The next portion of the race features stops at Borda da mata, Tocos do Moji and Estiva.  Tocos do Moji is nestled between mountains and is the youngest city in the South of Minas.  It boasts a pleasant climate, clean air and pure water.  Estiva presents a predominantly mountainous topography and is known as the "Land of Strawberries."

Fourth Segment - City of Estiva to Finish Line (Paraisopolis)

Consolação is the smallest municipality of the circuit, but this "town of comfort" is rich in natural beauty.  There are still many wild forests and waterfalls waiting to be discovered here.  Consolação is a major producer of strawberries and is the last major stop on the way to the finish line in Paraisopolis.

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