Written on: March 3, 2018
by Elisa Coleclough
International Women’s Day – 2018
I wanted to celebrate this week of International Women’s Day (March 8th), and I thought that a great way to do this is introducing you this amazing woman. She has such a heart, willingness and light within her to ignite the darkest night.
I met Maria while at the John Maxwell International Certification. Maria comes from very humble origins and is very aware of hardship and trouble in life, this is precisely why she takes every opportunity to help those who need it the most. Maria did not have the opportunity to attend University or have a formal education, she is very hard working and self-taught in many aspects, including English, which she speaks very well and fluently.
As a summary of Maria’s life she joined Emirates Airlines and she was stationed in Dubai, from where she travelled around the world to magnificent destination until once she flew to Bangladesh and became aware of the poverty and need in which Dhaka children lived. She was deeply moved and felt the urge to take action so she founded a school for children and helped about 100 families. There, she provided education for children and employment for parents. Commendable indeed, but her efforts did not end there, she became a runner in order to raise funds:
Maria’s world running records:
♣7 Ultra Marathons, In 6 Weeks, In 7 Continents, 2014
♣7 Ultra Marathons In 7 Days, November 2014
♣7 Full Marathons In 7 Days, October 2014
♣5 Full Marathons In 5 Days In 5 States, October 2014
♣5 Half Marathons In 5 Days In 5 States, September 2014
♣7 Marathons In 7 Days Across 7 Emirates, 2011
Being a runner myself, I can tell you that I was moved to tears listening to the efforts this young lady went to help these families. I can tell you, I know many runners and they train hard, but after a marathon your body falls to pieces and you need recovery, no matter how well trained you are it takes a toll…she ran 7 marathons in seven days. Imagine running 42k daily for seven days, at competition level, not training. Even if you are not a runner yourself, I guess you can picture the effort mentally and physically.
Not only did this woman run full marathons but she ran Ultra Marathons, (which distance goes from 50k to 100k), some of these marathons depending on the trails/terrain it may take up to 24hour running. And she did 7 of those during seven days… Oh my god! No wonder Maria is a 6 times Guinness World Holder.
And you may say that her efforts were more than enough by then, no way, Maria has a heart of gold and a determination to move mountains. She was the first Portuguese Woman to reach Mount Everest in 2013 (for which she prepared in only one year); now if you climb or do extreme sports, you know climbing is no beginner’s game, not to mention Mount Everest!
Maria’s world records:
♥6 times Guinness World Record Holder, 2016
♥First Portuguese Woman To Summit Mount Everest, 2013
♥Climbed Mount Elbrus, Europe 2012
♥Last Degree To North Pole, 2011
♥Climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa 2010
I think that by now, you know why my face in the picture says I was deeply moved by her story but also deeply touched by her efforts. This year, I will do my very humble effort to run a marathon and fundraise for her cause, I am no world record holder, but I hope when I have everything set you guys donate to support her cause.
Finally, I just want to say that real-life heroes do not make it to the mass media, do not wear customs, but they do exist and I am sure you agree with me Maria da Conceição is one.
Have a great week, and do not forget to celebrate the amazing women in your life! Eli